Relief for Nepal: Update May 5th
International Needs First Responders Bring Food, Shelter and Hope to Remote Communities
Days after the tragedy, Esther Thapa, Executive Director of International Needs Nepal and Lydia Vocational Training Centre, decided to verify conflicting accounts of the tragedy, and became the first relief worker to witness the devastation in some remote communities hardest hit by the quake…
On May 1st at 5:00 am, in the aftermath of the earthquake and aftershocks that claimed well over 7000 lives, Esther led four International Needs staff members on three motorbikes, laden with emergency supplies, to visit Sindupalchok— the region hardest hit by the earthquake where several of the women attending Lydia Vocational Training Centre in Kathmandu call home.
Four hours later, when Esther and her team arrived at Lamasagu village, they discovered that no one else had been there since the tragedy.
“We found about 200 households huddled in a makeshift camp under tents, tarps and tin roofs that had been set up for an event before the quake,” Esther says, describing her first impressions of the scene. “We spoke to some people who had been attending a church service when the tragedy struck. Four days after the quake they had been able to retrieve the bodies of 15 people who had died in the quake during the service. They had managed to dig a single grave by hand and had buried them all. The stench from the makeshift grave was, in a word, miserable.”
Much more urgent, Esther says, was the plight of two women who had given birth in recent weeks and were in desperate need of food for their infants.
Two hours walk from Lamasagu, up Tauthali hill, was another camp no one else had visited. About 500 households were huddled there. Then, across the river Pangretar, was a village of 30 households. And just over the hill beyond Pangretar was Baseri where another 50 families had gathered, desperately in need of food. They decided to travel to Kunchok. But half-way there they ran out of time. One of the community leaders told them no one had come to that village yet, but 45 people had died, many were injured and most of the animals through which people made their livelihoods had died.
Based on the visit, International Needs Nepal is preparing immediate emergency relief packages for 280 household in Lamasangu, Pangetar and Baseri. Packages of rice, sugar, grain, salt, tea, and washing soap are being sent along with special supplies for the mothers of the two infant children. However, additional funds are needed to help the people in Tauthali and Kunchock. These villages have much bigger populations and travelling is very difficult. Tents, ground pads and blankets are a high priority. Also with the coming monsoons, mosquito nets are also needed. A total of 960 households need to be served and your help, Esther says, is needed to make this happen.