UN Development Programme Releases VR Film Ground Beneath Her, a Window into the Continuing Devastation of Nepal’s 2015 Earthquake
When a deadly earthquake shook Nepal in April 2015, nearly 9,000 people lost their lives. For the millions left behind and left vulnerable by the quake, life would never be the same. More than 3 million people were displaced by the earthquake, many of whom live in makeshift homes or camp-like shelters. They wrestle daily with a lack of food, clean water and electricity, and yet life goes on many months later.
Ground Beneath Her is a virtual reality film that showcases the struggle of 14-year-old Sabita. More than a year after the earthquake, Sabita must balance the pain of picking up the pieces after the devastating quake and fulfilling the everyday duties of a fractured home, all while trying to keep her dreams for her future alive.
The film – released on several platforms – is a window into the hardships that hundreds of thousands of people in the country still face, whose homes were damaged or destroyed in an instant, and whose lives were changed forever. Despite the tremendous efforts underway, tens of thousands of people in Nepal still struggle with food and water shortages, and live in makeshift shelters.
“For those who experienced the earthquake the physical and emotional scars linger long after,” said Haoliang Xu, UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific. “Ground Beneath Her, is a film that aims to give viewers an understanding of what life is like in the aftermath, and to remind the world that the recovery effort in Nepal will take years, to bring life back to normal.”
The film aims to raise much needed resources for the continued recovery efforts supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Nepal, through a crowd funding campaign.
Jointly produced by UNDP’s Regional Bureau of Asia and the Pacific and the SDG Action Campaign, the film breaks the storytelling mold by using minimal dialogue to great effect.
While viewers are immersed in the bleak life of rural Nepal after the earthquake, they also see a human story of a young blacksmith’s daughter looking after herself and her siblings, all while pursuing her dream of becoming a doctor. Ground Beneath Her exists not only to immerse viewers in the starkness of life in rural Nepal after the earthquake, but also to give the displaced a voice.
“In Ground Beneath Her, viewers will meet Sabita and understand the challenges earthquake victims are confronted with. But in the 17 districts severely affected by the quake, many more Sabitas are struggling to recover from the disaster,” said Renaud Meyer, Country Director for UNDP Nepal. “While the Government scales up its reconstruction efforts, UNDP targets the most vulnerable families and provides support through small scale infrastructure and job creation. With more resources, we could help more victims get back on their feet.”
Chiefly through sound and music, with a score by Emmy nominated composer Mckenzie Stubbert, Ground Beneath Her provides an unparalleled experience of a slice of life in a hillside village, inviting viewers to interpret the film through a number of lenses.
Ground Beneath Her was co-created with Ari Palitz, and production studio Here Be Dragons, a leading creative innovator in Virtual Reality and immersive experiences.
· Total death: Over 8,850
· Injured: + 22,000
· The earthquakes damaged around 900,000 houses (destroyed 602,257, damaged 280,000)
· Displaced: Around 3 million people, including women and children
· Areas affected: 33 out of 75 districts affected, 14 worst affected
· Total economic loss: US$ 7 billion [PDNA]