Print Edition - 2015-05-08 | Earthquake Relief
Youths make a difference in Sindhupalchok
May 7, 2015-
On May 2, a week after the 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck the nation, 16 individuals, most of whom were students, reached Bhotechour VDC in the district. Without a banner and without a collective identity, they had gathered in the village, on their own accord, and had begun to help the locals in any way they could.
Even before the government had reached the area, the youths had teamed up with three locals and had set up a camp in Pategaun. Although only two had lost their lives to the earthquake in the village, they sensed a risk of epidemic that could spread out of the decaying carcasses of cattle lying under the debris. The impromptu collective started clearing the wreckage and managed to remove the remains of buffalo and goat from about ten sheds in the area.
The second priority for the group was to make the villagers aware regarding sanitation and hygiene. They distributed water purifiers and briefed the locals on cleanliness. Disinfectant was sprayed over areas that the group weighed to have potential to become breeding grounds for bacteria.
As of Thursday morning, five days after their arrival, the group had visited every house—although there were hardly any standing—in the five wards of the VDC.
The group is not the only one that has set out to the affected area with a purpose.
Another group, on Thursday, was removing debris and recovering documents from Jaleshwori Secondary School in the district.
Several other youths, from within and outside the country, have been travelling to the district with a similar agenda. Different groups and individuals, so far, have built tents for the homeless, cleared much of the rubble, built makeshift toilets and distributed tarpaulin sheets.
Most of the volunteers attribute their desire to help to the want to do something for their country and their fellow citizens, and to make a difference.
“Rather than sitting idle at home, we decided to come to the field,” says Basu Dev Regmi, a volunteer. “The work we have done here could set an example to youths across the country,” he adds.
“We do not want any credit for the work we have done,” says another volunteer, Dilip Singh. “All there is to this is that we are working hard to rebuild the village,” he adds.
And the desire to help out does not seem to be temporary.
Niroj Khatiwada, one of the volunteers who was helping out in clearing rubble from Jaleshwori School says that his group will stay as long as they are needed. “We have not seen active participation from the government’s side yet,” he says. “And we intend on staying at least till the school opens again.”
Published: 08-05-2015 09:23