Emergency aid to the Himalayas
Piskar lies just a few kilometres from the epicentre of the earthquake that hit Nepal on May 12th and the majority of the houses in the village have collapsed. Mission East arrived with humanitarian aid in the form of tarpaulins and hygiene kits shortly before the monsoon set in and mudslides blocked the roads.
Early in the morning on June 8th, a group of residents from the village of Piskar, located in the remote part of Sindhupalchowk district, walked up into the mountains to clear the bumpy stone path, which since the powerful earthquakes in April and May has been their only link to the outside world.
The main road to Kathmandu was blocked by landslides, and the many aftershocks were still causing stones to fall down onto the narrow roads. The residents started to clear a path enabling Mission East and Medair’s lorries to reach their village so they could get the tarpaulins and hygiene equipment that was so sorely needed.
The monsoon blocked roads
Piskar is located on the outskirts of Sindhupalchowk district, and up to 90% of the houses on the steep hillsides have collapsed. The school has also collapsed, and a shed now serves as a temporary classroom for the village children.
On this day the sun was shining, but a few weeks later, the monsoon rains came and the roads were blocked by mudslides. It was therefore important to get the aid supplies there as soon as possible.
Minus 10 degrees centigrade
However, another serious problem awaits when winter arrives. The temperature can easily drop to minus 10 degrees centigrade at the 2000-metre altitude and it snows often. Especially the elderly and people with disabilities are in a desperate situation.
“My house has completely collapsed, and my wife and I have no children, so we don’t know who is going to help us rebuild it,” said Man Kaji, an elderly man who lives with his wife in a small shelter.
Serious sanitation problems
There is also a serious sanitation problem in the village.
“Before the earthquake, latrines had been established throughout the district, but many of them collapsed during the earthquake, so people now have to relieve themselves in the open. It is a serious problem when bacteria mix with drinking water, and this is a serious problem during the monsoon,” said Sumina Shrestha, hygiene coordinator for Mission East’s local partner, Community Development and Environment Conservation Forum (CDECF). Her job during the relief efforts has been to teach people how to use the sanitary equipment that Mission East has distributed, which among other things contains soap and a water purification agent.
Emergency aid efforts in Nepal
Over the summer, Mission East has distributed emergency aid to eight village municipalities in the hard-hit Sindhupalchowk district. This was done in collaboration with the Swiss organisation Medair and three local organisations. So far, they have distributed emergency aid to over 33,000 people, and after the monsoon, the two organisations will start the process of reconstruction.
Each family gets
- 2 tarpaulins with rope
- 3 blankets
- 2 water bottles
- 1 plastic mug
- 1 hygiene package with, among other things, soap, a water purification agent, towels, underwear and a torch