Monday
Dec142015

UPDATE: Nepal - 200 Days after the  Earthquake

Nepal – 200 days after the devastating earthquake – A colossal humanitarian crisis prevails, compounded by a series of misery:  Floods, Landslides, Hunger, Insecurity, Joblessness, and lastly, a severe lack of Fuel & Essentials’ Supplies due to a political impasse, et al. Over 4 million remain homeless and penniless - many of them, hopelessly dwelling in make-shift tents! 

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Copy of an article by Reporter Volunteer Shyam Goenka:
edited: Dr Linda Spedding 

A devastating earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter Scale hit Nepal on April 25, 2015 and again on May 12 measuring 7.3, shaking the country, literally. It was nightmarish and a very frightening tragedy. As if these were not enough, there have also been a slew of tremors above 6 on the Richter Scale and more than 20 above 5, and more than 400 above 4, that have rocked Nepal ever since the fateful day of April 25. It caused more than 800,000 homes demolished and those many families homeless and jobless; more than 9000 lives lost and more than 2500 fatally injured.

Nepal is reeling under a colossal humanitarian crisis and needs global attention once again. 200 days after the tragedy struck, very little in relief and rehabilitation has gone to the families of the deceased and the ones fatally injured. 800,000 families whose homes got demolished find themselves in a situation that is many times graver than what it was when the catastrophe took place. The compassionate world had appreciably done their bit to help the innocent people in crisis and in all fairness would have thought that the country might have got back to life by now, but little do they know that the problems have actually got largely compounded with incessant fury of monsoons, floods, landslides, hunger, joblessness, insecurity, severe lack of fuel supplies, et al.

 

     


Those who lost their homes (800,000 families constituting more than 4 million people including elderly and children) got an equivalent of a paltry 150 US Dollars per family from the government to buy tents and nothing else on an assured basis (exceptions of a few having got some relief for a short while from social organizations, notwithstanding). Shortly after the earthquake struck, there was the monsoon to endure in make-shift tents many of which by then had begun to leak, and then there have been landslides and floods in several regions, followed by the Himalayan winters now without warm clothing! More than all this, the fact that there has been no money to buy food, clothes and medicines for 200 days now, is something incomprehensible for any soul. One cannot imagine how 4 million people have lived through these 200 days and don’t know how they can negotiate each day ahead! What bigger a humanitarian crisis can there be?

 

 

 

On top of all this they have lost peace of mind – for there is no job at hand and there is no light that they see at the end of the tunnel – there is no hope that is alive anymore seeing continuous poise of peril.

 

 

 

To add salt to injury, the country at large is facing disruption of fuel and food supplies at the borders. Even the ones who are able to pay astronomical prices, are barely able to buy things – in such a situation it is anybody’s guess how the ones, especially victims of such a devastating earthquake who have no money in hand, must be surviving. Fuel supplies are down to about 5% of what it used to be. This has caused the government to go back in times to desperately fetch firewood from the forests as cooking has been rendered a practice of privilege.

       
   

To add salt to injury, the country at large is facing disruption of fuel and food supplies at the borders. Even the ones who are able to pay astronomical prices, are barely able to buy things – in such a situation it is anybody’s guess how the ones, especially victims of such a devastating earthquake who have no money in hand, must be surviving. Fuel supplies are down to about 5% of what it used to be. This has caused the government to go back in times to desperately fetch firewood from the forests as cooking has been rendered a practice of privilege.

     

People have to queue up endlessly to notch a gas cylinder on ration. Travelling dangerously on the roof of buses has become a common scene. Even octogenarians reportedly have had to queue up and then take the firewood load on their shoulders because the public transport is in total limbo and so is the private transport too.

This tragedy came at a time when Nepal had barely come out of the crisis it has been in - fighting incessantly with abject poverty, political instability, a sad legacy of 10 years of a civil war that took more than 15000 lives.

After all this, yet, there are no credible time lines of homes being provided to the families and of their being able to earn a livelihood for themselves. The Reconstruction Authority of the Government is yet not in place! Families have no money with them to even feed their children. Many have nursed illness and diseases which need to be addressed. Many have developed psychiatric problems and there are several cases of children having got misplaced. There are pregnant women who have no access to medical care. Invariably all are subject to lack of food and essentials.

As stated above, now the situation is even worse, when the world assumes that “the tragedy is old and is not expedient today” and the government is as helpless as ever, the sympathy that the tragedy evoked 6 months back has also diminished, and hence support from Nonprofits & CSOs have also been on a wane. The victims are worn out and tired fighting all the tyrannies of nature and are only hoping that their children could somehow have a roof on their heads and they could somehow begin to earn a livelihood.

Nepal is in total ruins. The home of Lord Buddha - the Apostle of Peace, has been marred with depredation and wreckage. Only the debris remains of famous pilgrim sites visited by thousands of devotees every day. The kin of the brave Gurkha warriors who valiantly protect boundaries of various countries, watched helplessly as their homes destroyed, and families split apart. It may be recalled that the Gurkha soldiers, who for many generations have been an integral part of the British Army, are the sixth largest force in the UN Peacekeeping Corps. The epicenter of the devastating earthquake of the 25 April, Barpak, incidentally, is in the very homeland of the warriors – the Gorkha district. This entire district has been devastated and several more in the mid-hills.

There is an urgent need to reach out to the victims and help provide them with all they need. While food and medical care are the most basic needs, there are several things needed to be done at least now, after 200 days of tyranny.

Besides food and medical care, requirement is large and may be enumerated largely as follows:

  1. Address the psychiatric issues being nursed by many victims
  2. Education has been marred all this while as School buildings have got demolished – need to rebuild Schools on priority, and in parallel arrange for class rooms to operate from temporary shelters 
  3. Work on having the displaced children brought back to their respective families
  4. Need to educate people on precautionary measures against any future incidences of earthquake

These are primary requirements but not exhaustive. The likes of us who have tried to reach as much support as possible namelessly, had in all fairness expected that the government will get down to reaching out reprieve to victims but that has somehow not happened and the size of the homeless – above 4 million people, is a daunting task that requires support from us, at large. 

 

Important References:

http://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/28-lakh-quake-hit-nepalis-yet-to-get-basics-reports-un/

http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2015-06-25/nepal-still-needs-vital-humanitarian-assistance-un.html

http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2015-10-26/un-concerned-over-quake-victims-woes.html 

http://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/nepal-still-in-crisis-after-3-months-of-quake-says-un/ 

http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-04-25/devastating-earthquake-leaves-more-thousand-dead-and-rising-nepal 

http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2015-06-02/ban-pays-tribute-to-quake-victims.html

 

Saturday
Apr252015

Kathmandu Earthquake 2015

Today, on Saturday April 25th at midday, the region north-east of the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu was struck by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake.  Historically this was the strongest quake for this region since 1934.

An earthquake of such devastating force rocked this mountainous area, toppling houses, centuries old historical buildings and temples, and turning most of the capital and the surrounding areas into piles of rubble.  It is estimated that over 1400 people have been killed and the numbers still seem to be rising.

Update:  The numbers of dead have now risen to over 4000 with 6500 badly injured.

Nepal is a country consisting of 75% mountains, including Mount Everest, which has also been affected, and we hear that the quake has triggered several avalanches. 

Emergency services are very limited; additionally hampered by the difficulty of access to the most damaged areas where the many houses of sub-standard building code have become just piles of rubble. Repeated aftershocks are a further threat to the already compromised older structures.

                    

 Locals and tourists alike are rummaging through mounds of debris in search of survivors. The injured are being treated outside hospitals and even in the streets in chaotic scenes. Residents, terrified by the ongoing series of aftershocks, huddled outdoors for safety and with every minute the situation becomes worse, in the city and in the surrounding areas.

 

      

In this humanitarian crisis Adhyatmik Foundation Inc (AF) is contributing to the relief and rehabilitation efforts required in every way practical. AF is working in close coordination in the affected areas with agencies, local authorities and NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) to ensure the relief reaches out to the people in the affected areas who need it most. Your help is urgently needed

Your support will enhance our relief efforts to provide:

▪   food;

▪   drinking water/purifiers;

▪   blankets and clothing;

▪   medical supplies;

▪   rescue equipment

▪   relocation away from the affected areas;

▪   temporary shelters for the homeless   

How you can help:

Please donate generously either by Paypal or by check.  Please mark your donation: Kathmandu Earthquake 2015

 Checks marked “Kathmandu Earthquake": may be mailed to: Adhyatmik Foundation, Inc, 106 Crestview Court, FLF, Hawley, PA 18428.

Tuesday
Nov122013

Haiyan Typhoon in the Philippines

 

Phillipines Typhoon 1 w dropshadowThe Philippines have announced a state of national calamity as a result of the major catastrophic storm that was more powerful that previous storms combined. On November 8th 2013 Super Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms in recorded history, has affected millions of people in the Philippines and is estimated to have killed more than 10,000, according to official reports. The Philippines, not yet recovered from last month’s earthquake, were hit with winds over 200 mph and storm surges of 20 feet high in a 370 mile swathe across the countries many islands. While there was some awareness of the coming storm, the extent of the tsunami waves arrived completely unexpectedly according to reports and the area was torn apart, leaving great chaos and destruction.

Phillipines Typhoon 2 w dropshadowThe logistics of the spread out islands cause enormous difficulties. Some coastal cities, including Tacloban whose population is about 220,000, were almost completely flattened, which means that aid efforts around the country remain severely hindered. The Islands’ infrastructure is totally destroyed, roads are blocked, ferries do not run and the airports, covered in debris, are inaccessible. The unrelenting waters of this storm completely washed away many villages and small towns, leaving Tacloban, previously a thriving city, in total ruins. Hospitals are demolished, there is no food, no clean water, no power, no refrigeration, and over 600,000 people are displaced.

In short, it is a humanitarian situation requiring assistance at all levels…

The Philippines Red Cross in coordination with the military, the government and Aid agencies from all over the world are helping in the search for those still missing as well as trying to provide for the many left homeless and without basic necessities. Sadly lawlessness and looting are prevalent in these circumstances, as well as the threat of widespread disease.

Adhyatmik Foundation Inc (AF) is contributing to the relief and rehabilitation efforts required in every way practical through its many connections and local channels. Your support will enhance our relief efforts to provide:

How you can help: Please donate generously either by Paypal or by check, mailed to 106 Crestview Court, Hawley 18428, marking the donation with “Haiyan Typhoon Relief 2013

 


Thursday
Jun202013

Kendarnath/ Uttarakhand Disaster June 2013


Kendarnath Temple, situated at an elevation of 3,584 meters in the Uttarakhand region of the Himalayas - around 140 miles north of Rishikesh  - has been affected by a series of flash flood disasters according to ongoing media reports.  Kendarnath is a 1000-year-old shrine and of profound spiritual significance: around 5000 pilgrims a day visit.  The floods hit two weeks early before the expected monsoon rains and many visiting pilgrims have been trapped in the area and are still unaccounted for.

It has been estimated that over 50,000 people remain trapped in and around the area: evidently while some 150 people have been reported to have perished in the Uttarakhand floods, officials say they expect the death toll to eventually reach several thousand. Many parts of the state where people are stranded remain inaccessible.   Kendarnath - the epicenter of the devastation - remains almost impossible to reach.  Bad weather has washed away highways and has prevented military helicopters from landing here.  While the Army, Air Force and paramilitary forces have been reported to have so far evacuated some 13,000 people stranded in the area, nearly 62,000 people remain cut off.  For the stranded people there, after several days of inaccessibility, there is no food, no water, no gas, no electricity, no fuel - and assistance remains remote. Moreover, those rescued have lost everything and the need for humanitarian support is very urgent, especially in view of the growing numbers affected and the rising related tension.

                                    

Adhyatmik Foundation Inc (AF) is contributing to the relief and rehabilitation efforts required in every way practical. We are closely connected with this region and are also in contact with a view to assist with training the local people to deal with the stress caused by such disasters and to learn to live with nature in a more sustainable manner.

Your support will enhance our relief efforts to provide:

  • drinking water/purifiers
  • food;
  • blankets and clothing;
  • medical supplies;
  • temporary shelters and/or relocation for the homeless;                                                                                    

    How you can help: Please donate generously either by Paypal or by check, marking the donation with “Uttarakhand Flood Relief 2013”

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday
Aug082012

Uttarkashi Disaster

Nestling in the Himalayan Region, Uttarkashi has special significance as a spiritual destination.  It is filled with natural beauty, attracting human interest to continue to recharge and uplift the spirit.  It is a place where  people should - ideally - visit but not occupy permanently.  On Friday, August 3rd 2012 torrential rainfalls wiped away signs of human development in an area that seemed to be a specific target while all around drought conditions continued.  The event vividly demonstrates – as in    other cases where nature has restated or regained her hold – the need for thoughtful care and to educate people to be more attuned to nature.  Sacred sites should be left in their natural states.

The floods caused heavy landslides in the state, washing away a stretch of the national highway. Families were evacuated from low lying regions of Uttarkashi to higher ground. There is further concern that the flood could also impact wider areas in the Jammu and Kashmir region. In Chenab, Tawi, Ujh and Basantar the rivers are nearing the danger mark. There is no electricity and clean water supply is minimal.  The area of Gangotri remains disconnected with rest of the world, as its connecting bridge was swept away by the flash flood.

                    

Adhyatmik Foundation Inc (AF) is contributing to the relief and rehabilitation efforts required in every way practical. We are also in contact with a view to assist with training the local people to live with nature is a sustainable manner.

Your support will enhance our relief efforts to provide:

  • drinking water/purifiers
  • food;
  • blankets and clothing;
  • medical supplies;
  • temporary shelters and/or relocation for the homeless;

How you can help: Please donate generously either by Paypal or by check, marking the donation with “Uttarkashi Flood Relief 2012f”

Checks may be mailed to: Adhyatmik Foundation, Inc, 106 Crestview Court, FLF
Hawley, PA 18428, with the memo of “Uttarkashi Flood Relief 2012”