Nagarmail, May 16th 2015.
Three weeks to the day since the first Earthquake. 4 days since the 2nd Quake.
Has time flown by or dragged its weary feet slowly, trying to keep up with, on one hand, the chaos and fear, on the other the need to rise up and rebuild?
I myself was with my wife and 2 kids for the 1st tremblor, but was not with them for the 2nd. My life flashed before my eyes, I got on my bike, and stop-started through crazed jammed up traffic, as other aftershocks rattled the 4-storey building on either side. I got home to see my wife and kids sitting outside with neighbours, I hadn’t seen them for 2 days, it felt like a lifetime.
THE SITUATION IN NEPAL
14 of the hardest hit districts, circling the Kathmandu valley to the North, South, East and West had returned to some form of normalcy, it was day 18, and relief was getting to most places, the hardest communities to reach still waiting amongst the rubble that was their homes. Tuesday 12th of May, the 2nd biggie, the epicenter north east of Kathmandu, ravaged the district of Sindupalchowk again, and left Dolakha district 10 times worse off than it had been after the first 1. Many other houses and buildings in districts which had cracked, gave in and fell to the ground.
Nagarhope has been trying to get tarpaulin sheets and tents through different means, and along with relief shelter and food relief, has been supplying donated clothes to affected areas. Every badly affected remote area reached opens another door to another viilage where assistance is needed. Dhurba, Raju, Enjay and Biru from Nagarkot hae been busy since day one, visiting places to assess the damage and re-visiting a few days later with relief of some sort. Yesterday with tarpaulin sheets provided by a Chinese friend, Dada and her supporters from the Chinese temple in Lumbini, we distributed 100 sacks of Rice, 100 tarpaulin sheets, salt and 50 sacks of donated clothes to a remote Village called Dhongaun in Anekot in Kavre District. Many thanks to all helpers and volunteers for what turned out to be a long day.
Easily accessible places have been popular as organizations distribute aid, harder to reach areas are the areas that we are focusing on, places that are down and out, off the beaten track, untouched by the bigger organizations.
Our own school, in operation only one ear suffered minor cracks after Quake 1, and severe damage after quake 2. Our rented office cracked beyond repair, Dhurba’s house and home to 4 children destroyed. A 3 room classroom we built for Shree Terse School in Talamarang SIndupalchowk is reduced to rubble on three sides.
The figures change daily, but over half a million or more homes have been destroyed and another half a million not safe enough to live in, 30000 classrooms are unfit to run classes in. Relief is yet to reach some of the most vulnerable people in far-flung mountainous areas. Schools in the 14 most affected districts which opened mid-April, will not start classes til June 1st at the earliest, those buildings that have been totally wrecked may not run classes for months. Over 100,000 pregnant or almost due mothers are in danger of all sorts of danger due to many of them having to sleep outside in makeshift tents or homes battered together from the remnants of what used to be their homes.
WE WILL RISE
The Nepali people have been very resilient in the face of destruction before, and have started to pick themselves up, on more than one occasion recently. Heroes are being made by the minute, as ordinary locals take the mantle and initiate rebuilding and relief efforts.
Nagarhope’s first rebuilding project is our own school in Sathikurya. By May 20th, we will have 5 or 6 volunteers, both foreign and Nepali, taking a 3 or 4 day trip to our site, where we plan to construct 2 classrooms and a kitchen with local now-how and materials as well as 50 or so pieces of corrugated roofing. Our duty to our own students and getting the school to rise from the rubble is our first priority.
We have also initiated a plan to get the Health Post in Nagarkot back up and running. Both the main 2 storey building and other block are in tatters, and through contacts in Nagarkot and elsewhere we hope to get two rooms, and two toilets up and running within 50 days or so.
All of the above and much more, be it through Nagarhope, large INGOs, or small community groups working independently, has made the crucial difference in this broken, but not failed state of Nepal, where an ineffient, lethargic and corrupt government has done little to ease the pain of the populace. To all those who have donated, fundraised, collected clothes, sponsored, send words of encouragement, adminned, or done whatever they have had the capacity to do, we thank you from the bottom of the pit. We will rise, by joining hands and minds, stitching small pieces of small communities slowly back together, helping locals to help themselves, learning from those with the knowledge and experience that is needed a this time.
We are down, but we are not out. Picking up the pieces requires a collective and concerted effort by one and all.
You have been a part of it already.
A special thanks to the nagarhope committees both in Ireland and Nepal for their tireless commitment until now, it has been a difficult time.
Go raibh mile maith aguibh gach duine,
Mise le Meas
Fachtna ‘Doc’ Clandillon