Sindhupalchowk Field Report

Global Karuna sent volunteers Rockey Lumbini and Vanessa LaBoheme into the field on 5/4/2015 and 5/6/2015 to distribute supplies and conduct an assessment of Nepal’s most devastated district, Sindhupalchowk. On 5/6/2015 they were joined by CEBA board member Hira Moktan. In order to bring supplies to these remote areas, our volunteers were escorted on both occasions by either police or local villagers on motorbike. Due to the desperate conditions in this district, supply transport vehicles are susceptible to looting. These escorts ensured the safety of our volunteers and our relief materials on these 5 hour, 66km trips uphill.
Relief Supplies
Global Karuna distributed food, water, solar lamps, medical supplies, and tarps in Thulo Pakhar village/ Village Development Community (VDC) and Baruwa VDC, the latter of which will further distribute supplies to neighboring villages which are not accessible by car. More specifically, Global Karuna delivered:

On 5/5 to Thulo Pakhar, serving 1,200 people
- Two large trucks containing approximately 4.5 tons of supplies collected by our Lumbini Team and our Kathmandu Relief Team (KRT)
- 600 Basic Food Packages, containing: 5kg rice, 2kg lentils, 2kg beaten rice, 3 packs of noodles, and three packs of biscuits (each)
- 10 Basic Medical Packages, containing: 5 ORS, 50 tablets of paracetamol (fever,pain), 2 sanitary napkin packs, 10 Band-Aids, 20 tablets of Metadole (diarrhea), 2 cotton rolls, 20 tablets of Ibuprofen (fever, pain), 1 bar of soap, 3 gauze pads, medical tape, 20 tablets of Sinex (cough, fever), 5 pairs of Gloves, 3 masks (each)

On 5/6 to Baruwa:

288 Biscuits packs, 750kg Rice, 40 Tarps, 40kg Beaten Rice, 10 Basic Medical Packages, 100kg Salt, 50kg Lentils, 40kg Soy beans, 5 Solar Lamps

The April 25th earthquake caused immeasurable damage to Sindhupalchowk district. The loss of life was tremendous, with some families losing multiple members of all ages. Barua VDC has the highest death toll with more than 200 reported dead. In one village of eight homes, 19 persons lost their lives. Entire villages have been reduced to rubble, the occasional half-toppled building sagging or leaning in one direction or another, missing walls, and threatening to cause further casualties. If one stands on one hill and looks across to the next, piles of stone, protruding wood beams, and the reflection of tin roofs can be seen in devastating and lifeless patches. In many cases, a home was the only thing the inhabitants of these hills owned – dreams built by their own hands after years of hardship. Now, buried with those dreams, are the stored grains with which to feed these families throughout the year, and the seeds needed to plant the next crop. The true cost of the loss of home, food security, and family simply cannot be calculated.

The local school in Baruwa VDC was completely destroyed. Temples and stupas litter the grounds. Rampant livestock are consuming crops. Survivors are living in large groups, in temporary tin and wood structures, or still out in the open.

A survey of the land in these areas revealed significant and concerning cracks in the ground. When the rainy season comes, these will increase the likelihood of landslides in a region that is already prone to such natural disasters.

As relief forces begin reaching remote areas, the need for food and water is slowly being met, though the need for tarps remains high and critical. The needs of those affected by the earthquake are therefore shifting. With monsoon season quickly approaching, villagers are in a race against time to construct adequate housing. In most cases, the primary resources needed to build homes are available, as wood, stone, and tin can be pulled from the rubble. What is lacking is supplementary materials such as hammers, nails, saws, shovels, wire, etc… These will be key in accelerating building efforts. Another consideration will be organized labor. If the rubble can be systematically sorted and piled, this will also facilitate the monumental task of rebuilding.

Global Karuna has therefore determined that it would be in the best interest of villagers to supply these critical tools for shelter construction: Tarps and Building Kits. Our volunteer team could produce two packages, including a Basic Building Kit: Hammer, 2kg nails, wire, and a Complete Building Kit: 2 Hammers, 2kg nails, wire, a saw, and a shovel. These kits could be distributed in these highly effected areas to support the reconstruction effort.
Finally, Global Karuna is investigating the possibility of addressing issues of food security through the donation of rice seeds to affected villages.