With rain continuing to add to the difficulties of those left homeless after the earthquake, tarpaulins remain the item most in demand out in rural parts of Gorkha and Sindupalchowk. Shelter is indeed a priority, given the approaching monsoon; the current rainfall only counts as pre-monsoonal showers.
By today, 7 May, our team has organized the distribution of 3,991 tarpaulins in Sindhupalchowk; the figure for Gorkha is only valid as of Tuesday 5 May, when it stood at 1,080. At least 1100 water purifiers, 200 buckets, and a number of hygiene kits have also reached those who need them.
Reflecting on the first days of the relief effort, Bikram Rana writes of his assessment in Sindupalchowk, “We observed that almost all the latrines in the assessed VDCs (Mahankal, Ichowk, Sipa Pokhari) had toppled down, and respondents indicated that the same is the case in other VDCs…We assumed that food and sanitation would be the first problem, but the rapid assessment showed that shelter was the first requirement, and the management of animal carcasses and dead bodies buried under fallen infrastructure was the second priority.”
In fact, it has been widely reported that there have been no desperate shortages of food – partly because many people were able to salvage supplies of grain from their damaged homes, and partly because there has been a strong sense of community solidarity, with those who have food stocks sharing with others. Private support sent from friends and relatives has also tended to focus on food.
The lack of toilets and drinking water is however becoming an issue of increasing concern, and one on which greater focus will be needed in the coming weeks and months.
This posting ends on a note to hearten readers in Nepal. On Tuesday a group of geography students, the Geoteam at the University of Zürich, managed to raise an incredible CHF 4,370 towards the earthquake response, through baking cakes and selling them to other students and staff. Clearly the cake-eaters paid generously. The motivation for this effort was an excursion to Nepal last year about tourism and development, as part of the students’ Masters studies. They had been shown such friendship and hospitality during their visit that they wanted to do something in return. Perhaps their example will serve to motivate others.