- 45 sacks of 30 kg rice
- 7 sacks of 25 kg dal
- 90 1L oil
- 84 bags of salt
- 94 tents courtesy of Rotary Club (10 of these are being provided to the lower village Aaptar, Kalyanpur-7)
The total cost of the supplies including transport was NPR 115,000.00 or USD 1,152.42.
About the trip
We left Kathmandu around 9 am as the supplies van arrived late and reached the village only after 3 pm. The road leading up to the village was narrow and rocky, and after trying hard for half an hour, our truck driver gave up. We had to hire another mini truck and transfer all supplies. The supplies truck then went through the longer route while our team took the short cut, which involved walking up a very steep trail for 15-20 min and for another 15-20 min through less difficult terrain. We later found out that this is the route schoolchildren pass through every day (the nearest public secondary school is in Ajingare, which is 1.5–2 hours walk from Kalyanpur-5). Most alarmingly, we noticed deep cracks that ran up the hillside along this route; there is a danger that parts of the hill might come down if there is heavy rain. There is an urgent need to conduct a risk assessment and find ways to prevent the impending disaster.
The village is inhabited primarily by two communities: Tamangs (a Tibetan-origin ethnic group that has been historically marginalized by the state) and Dalits (who are ranked the lowest in the Hindu caste system, regarded as “untouchable” and clearly the most disadvantaged social group in Nepal). Even in the best of times, these communities live in harsh conditions. Fortunately, the earthquake caused no casualty in the village, but every single house is destroyed and people are living in makeshift shelters. People have lost their crop and livestock, their main source of income. The local school is completely destroyed (thankfully the earthquake struck on a Saturday, when schools are closed). A number of women in the village are pregnant or have just delivered babies. We found a young woman sleeping with her newborn under a thatch roof that her mother-in-law, a widow, had retrieved from their broken cowshed.
People in the Dalit settlement are in a worse situation. They have no land and are heavily in debt. The earthquake has destroyed their homes and exacerbated their hardships, but they said things were not very different for them even before the disaster. We met one 26-year-old woman who is pregnant with her sixth child. She is due any moment now and nervous that the tents might not arrive in time. Her children were eating instant ramen noodles – the only relief they had received until yesterday. Since her condition is critical (she is four days overdue with her child), our team is going back again tomorrow to provide her some essentials. The village will also be provided 12’x15′ tents, which we could not take yesterday, as they had not yet arrived. It’s hard to find tents, so a big thanks to team member Sharareh Bajracharya and her family who obtained 94 of them from Rotary Club. The tents will be distributed to Harkapur- 25, Pyunswanra & Antar Thok-32, Deudi-16, Aaptar-13, Kaphalsangara-8.
The distribution went very well. A group of volunteers who have set up a medical camp in the lower village helped us with all the logistics. They have been in the area for many days now and are familiar with the communities and the terrain. Prior to our arrival, they had already prepared a list of people representing each household, and with the help of a local community member, identified the households that were most in need. To avoid confusion and duplication, each representative had been given a coupon that they had to submit to us upon receiving the rations. People seemed happy with the process and repeatedly said, “The distribution went very well. No one was left out, everyone got a fair share. This didn’t happen before.” Since all they had received until then were some packets of ramen noodles and biscuits, they were happy we had finally brought them real food. When a few bags of rations were left over after distribution, the Tamang families asked us to give them to the Dalit families. “Let them have it, they are worse off than us,” they said. “They have nothing.”
We’d like to thank all our friends and family members for their generous contribution to this initiative. We are also very grateful to the local community leaders and Sujeet Karn’s team of volunteers for their indispensable logistical support.