Jun 10, 2015-
The dZi Foundation, a non-profit organisation involved in strengthening rural infrastructure, has distributed relief material to the remote eastern districts of Solukhumbhu and Khotang. Because most of the earthquake relief work has been concentrated in the districts designated by the government as the ‘most affected’, survivors in these two districts have been largely ignored by relief workers.
In the last month since the earthquake, the Foundation has distributed 2,402 tarpaulins, worth Rs 40 million, to nine Village Development Committees (VDCs) and donated 910 tarpaulins to the District Disaster Response Committees (DDRCs) of the two districts.
The two districts had survived the April 25 Great Quake unscathed but reported devastation in the May 12 aftershock. After assessing the damage wrecked by the second major quake in the districts, the Foundation realised that the survivors needed shelter more than food.
“After the first tremor, we found that people had started storing grains. So, they did not need food. But when the May 12 earthquake devastated their homes, they had nowhere to seek shelter,” said Jhanak Karki, logistics officer at the Foundation.
The government data shows that 20 people lost their lives in the quake in Solukhumbhu; no casualties were reported in Khotang. More than 9,000 houses were completely and over 11,000 partially destroyed in Solukhumbu. In Khotang the number of houses completely destroyed by the quake was more than 2,000 and around 5,000 were partially damaged.
The Foundation has been working in Sotang, Gudel, Bung and Chheskam VDCs in Solukhumbu and Rakha, Dipsung, Sungdel, Maheswori and Jaleswori VDCs in Khotang.
Transporting tarpaulins to these VDCs, however, was costly, said Karki. Only the district headquarters are connected to the national road network.
“We had to hire mules to transport the material to the VDCs. Most of them are three-day walk away from the district headquarters,” said Karki.
Ang Chokpa Sherpa, deputy country director of the Foundation, said that the remoteness of the villages is one of the reasons both the government and non-governmental organisations have been reluctant to go and help earthquake victims there.
“The local administration was driven to approach us for tarpaulins,” said Sherpa.
After supplying the relief material, the organisation is now focusing on building temporary learning centres in 32 affected schools in Solukhumbhu and Khotang.
“We aim to complete building the centres by the end of July. Afterwards, we plan to construct new school buildings,” Sherpa said.
Published: 10-06-2015 08:16