Nepal Relief Stories
Baby Brings Joy AmidstDevastation
I met a team of 8 Doctors representing ArogyaBharati Haryana state who had an experience to share.The bus carrying these Doctors was headed towards Jalbire, a village close to China border. However, the bus came to a halt due to a landslide. The doctors with the kits of medicines decided to walk rest of the distance to Jalbire only to find that there was an emergency case awaiting them. A pregnant lady was undergoing labor pains and there was no one to attend. The local Doctor at Public Health Center had directed the lady to Kathmandu hospital it being a complicated case. The Team of Doctors swung into action and operated the lady inside the ambulance itself to deliver a baby boy successfully. The new born was named “Bharat” in consultation with the family and father of the boy. It proved to be a moment of joy for the whole village and a time to celebrate amidst devastation.
Devastating Earthquake in Nepal
Human response by Voluntary Organizations Life stands devastated beyond imagination in Nepal due the worst kind of earthquake on 25th April. However the quick and efficient response from the voluntary organizations like Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, Jan Kalyan Pratisthan, Sewa International Nepal, Pragyik Vidyarthi Parishad Nepal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad Nepal, Pashupati Shiksha Prasar Samiti, and Janjati Kalyan Ashram Nepal is worth appreciation. These volunteers have spread out to 1000 such locations, working day in and day out, risking their own lives at times, and trying to reach out to odd locations where no relief has reached still. The dreadful tremor hit Nepal at 11-56AM killing thousands. Within 3 hours, volunteers from HSS, Vidyarthi Parishad, Jan Kalyan Pratisthan and others launched the relief and rescue operations in as many places as possible. Volunteers started serving the affected in parts of Kathmandu like Shantinagar, Anaman nagar, Gaushala, Kalikasthan, and many other villages. The volunteers started relief in districts like Abhi Kathmandu, Bhaktpur, Dhadidh, Kabhre, Lalitpur, Nuwakote, Rasuwa, Ramechhap, Sindhupalchok, etc. Dry food stuff, water bottles, plastic tent materials, blankets etc. were distributed to the beneficiaries. RSS Joint General Secretary Shri Dattatreya Hosabale and ABVP Organizing Secretary a Sunil Ambekar participated in relief material distribution in Dhadidh and Bhaktpur and supervised the relief activity.
The central office of HSS in Kathmandu became the hub for relief activity from 25th April evening itself, the fateful day of quake. The helpline established here started connecting with people from world over, who were inquiring about wellbeing of the people and wished to talk to their relatives and friends. 6 people were saved due to this center. HSS volunteers together with volunteers from various organizations rescued at least 10000 people who were stuck up in various situations and taking them to safer locations. The volunteers also traced 100 dead bodies and identified them to be delivered to their respective families.
Till now 50 teams of volunteers have been formed and are serving the affected in field.
As being reported in the press, the number of casualties has gone beyond 6000 but this number is growing by the day with fresh reports coming in everyday from remote places. It is being estimated that the final number might cross 15000 casualties. The number of injured due to the earthquake is something like 8000 which might rise to 20000, it is expected. The total loss of life and property will be mammoth it is expressed. 32 districts of Nepal have been affected by this devastating earthquake. Another valued loss has been the heritage building as Nepal has abundant heritage building and site, the biggest loss being that of Dharahara tower. Many Mandirs/temples and historically famous monuments have been destroyed. Some of the districts like Sindhupalchok, Ramechhap, Dhadid, Rasuwa, Bhaktapur, Gorkha, Lamjud are worst affected with 90% villages being destroyed. Some of the villages in these districts received the relief only through Helicopters and that also after 3-4days as roads have been badly broken. Voluntary organizations are worried that the areas might be affected by epidemics because of the degenerating bodies and the unexpected arrival of rains. Many people from these districts are migrating to the Terai and experts are worried about their return! Appealing the donors to be more generous in sending material, dry food, etc. for Nepal.
SEWA INTERNATIONAL BHARAT
Sewa International is engaged in supporting the relief operations in Nepal through its partner organizations, like Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh Nepal, Pragyik Vidyarthi Parishad Nepal, Jankalyan Pratisthan and some other voluntary organizations. 200 local volunteers have been engaged presently, but the challenge is paucity of relief material. Relief material like Blanket, Tarpaulin, Torch lights, Solar Lamps, Match boxes, Candles, Plastic, Shoes, Plastic Mats, and Dry eatables like “chivada (chuda/muri), Bhujia, Potatoes, Salt, Water, Coal, plastic ropes, soya bean products etc.
You are kindly requested to treat this urgent.
However, volunteers may postpone their visits for the time being. They would be informed of soon.
Some Official Reports for Understanding the Devastation
According to United Nations, nearly 600,000 houses have been either completely destroyed or damaged in the earthquake. Latest estimate has it that 200,000 houses have been reduced to rubble. In Sindhupalchowk, there were 66,000 houses before the earthquake; only 1,000 are left standing. Nearly 45,000 private houses have been completely damaged in Gorkha district. In Bhaktapur, a quarter of the city has been razed; while a half of it is abandoned. As many as 10,718 government buildings have been devastated; while 14,741 have been partially damaged. The number of affected schools is close to 5,000. In Kathmandu, 80 percent of ancient buildings, temples and monuments are completely destroyed. In the big picture, of the 5.4 million houses in Nepal, 7.5 percent are completely damaged.
As per official figures, the earthquake death toll has now reached 7,557 (as of this writing). Prime Minister Sushil Koirala has said the death toll could reach 10,000. But there are experts who believe Koirala’s estimates are “uninformed” and the real number of deaths could be around 26,000. On the basis of calculation of Max Wyss of the Geneva-based International Centre for Earth Simulation (ICES), the death toll in Nepal due to earthquake could cross 100,000.
Nepal’s official version is that 14,536 people were injured. But here too experts estimate the number of injured between 94,000 and 321,000. Nearly eight million of 28 million Nepalis are directly or indirectly affected. Of the 1.7 million affected children, 260,000 have lost everything, including their homes, warm clothes and families.
They are in need of urgent help.
Sugreeva- The Hero
Handling dead bodies is the last act that anyone would like to do. When there is a mound of dead bodies to be handled during the calamity, no one would like to touch. It was the similar story for couple of days at the Teaching Hospital mortuary. Police personnel deployed there preferred to look the other way as the bodies arrived.
Yet, a young man stood constantly through the week after terrible earthquake, handling every dead body arriving, embalming as many as one can, packing them with sheets, helping the relatives of the dead to identify their near & dear who have died, or whatever came his way. Other volunteers were doing their turns, able to work for 2-3 hours at a go and then break while this person continued without break. The hospital Doctors and staff were so very impressed that they even offered to employ him which he simply declined.
The trauma of handling dead bodies is enormous and yet this young man never complained, no murmur, just performing his duty without expectation of name, fame, money, absolutely nothing. His dedication to the cause is unique, and makes him a “Karmayogee”. When a journalist inquired where he received the training in handling dead bodies or embalming them, he responded that he had never done this job earlier. This was the first time he performed this. He is an activist like many others and is presently a full timer for Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in Bihar.He might have handled close to 250 bodies in total within a week, a sort of records. This young man is Sugreeva, a hero in real sense.
Swayamsevaks Delivered Relief-Aid in Rasuwa
Rasuwa is a thinly populated district close to Tibet border. Volunteers made it a point to reach the farthest of the villages in this district where no aid had reached nor any relief worker. It was a day of relief for many in the remote villages of Rasuwa district. The district headquarter Dhunche saw a batch of HSS volunteers lead by Joint Secretary Harkesh Bishta and zonal Pracharak Tirtharaj Khanal reaching them with relief material. 400 families in this town benefited with relief materials including blankets, tarpaulins (both 400 nos) and foodstuffs.
Uddhav Prasad Bhattarai (Chief District Officer, Rasuwa) and Gajendra Kumar Thakur (Local Development Officer, Rasuwa) accompanied the team for distributing the relief materials and lauded the initiative undertaken by Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh Nepal in these days of crisis. The CDO urged the team to continue the efforts and serve the earthquake affected in the district and promised all cooperation from his side. The team could reach the last village bordering Tibet and distributed the relief material.
Trust generates more Trust
Natives of Charghare Gavisa, Nuwakote district resorted to public agitation on the road. The protest stopped the traffic on the road for hours. The villagers had not received any relief material for almost 9 days after the earthquake.
A group of volunteers who were traveling along the route and had to stop, met the protestors and calmed them down with a promise that they would be back within 24 hours.
The villagers were delighted to find the groupback in village next day morning with relief material. A pracharak of HSS Teerthraj Khanal led this group and distributed the material. The district Superintendent of Police Sobodh Ghimire applauded the efforts by talking to Teerthraj on phone and guided him to more such places.
One of the beneficiaries in Charghare Gavisa, Nuwakote was a widow with 9 children who had to take shelter beneath a bunyan tree. All the 10 of them lived without food for almost 9 days. The lady and her kids returned to village after some persuasion and receiving the relief material.
The photo shows Teerthraj Khanal presenting aid to the lady.