Another 7.3 jolt creates further destruction in Nepal
Last night, around midnight, the ring of my telephone woke me up from a deep sleep. I have been working non-stop since my return from Nepal two weeks ago to finish my book, “Olga’s Promise.” and had fallen into bed exhausted a couple of hours before. It was Som, calling from my garden in Kathmandu, the “go to” place for earthquake shelter. Another earthquake 7.3. He wanted to reassure me that the staff and the kids at J and K House were all safe. But this is devastating news from a country that is still suffering from the previous quake less than two weeks ago.
There are many houses damaged by the previous quake that are now totally demolished, further aggravating the lack of shelter for millions during the approaching monsoon season. The beautiful old house I have been renting for a dozen years and that was our shelter in the last quake, is standing, but some of the walls are cracked, and it needs a thorough assessment before anyone can live there.
The psychological trauma for millions of people is severe. They were just beginning to get their lives back together when disaster struck again. At the Nutritional Rehabilitation Home in Kathmandu, which we are using as a transitional home for hospitalized patients who were ready for discharge but had no place to go, the patients (mostly elderly and mostly disabled ) were panicked. Although the building is just a couple of years old and solidly constructed, they rushed down from the second floor to the ground floor, terrified. Half of them are sleeping inside on the ground floor, and half outside in tents. We have sent senior NYF staff as well as counselors from our Ankur Psychosocial Counseling Center to help with them understand and work through the fear. The NRH staff are all spending the night there to provide further reassurance. The high-school aged J House boys are also volunteering at the NRH to help with the elderly patients.
The three day care centers we have established in badly-hit areas of the Kathmandu Valley are overflowing with children who would otherwise have to spend their days playing in the rubble while their parents try to get their lives back together. We will continue to house them and provide nourishing meals, counseling, and instruction from volunteer teachers from private schools around Kathmandu. It is not clear when the schools will reopen.
Our staff in Kathmandu is working 16 hour days to provide relief supplies (tarps, tents, water filters, rice, etc.) to those who need it most and making plans, in conjunction with the School of Engineering at Kathmandu University, to supply inexpensive shelters with corrugated roofing before and during the monsoon. It is due in a few weeks, and will generate further suffering with mudslides, the spread of diseases, and general misery.
We need you as our partner, now more than ever. We are there, on the ground, procuring and transporting supplies, planning for the coming weeks of monsoon and we will be there long after the immediate relief efforts have waned… making a difference and helping people to rebuild their lives, their dreams and their futures. Your support makes this possible.
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you!