5/12 Statement from Oxfam

Hi Umesh,

The support from the Zumi’s community is helping Oxfam save lives.

The second earthquake in Nepal is so upsetting. We just issued the following statement: Nepal’s second quake a double disaster says Oxfam Cecilia Keizer, Oxfam’s country director in Nepal said: “This is a double disaster leaving many of the survivors of the first earthquake shocked and fearful of further tremors. Our teams in the quake areas reported that buildings collapsed and landslides have blocked the roads. They too were very shaken but immediately got back to work. Whilst we don’t yet know the full extent of this second major earthquake, we do know that the people of Nepal will need much more support to help them put their lives back together. “It was already a race against time to reach people before the monsoon season arrives at the beginning of June. It’s now more vital than ever for us to be able to reach as many people as possible.” Oxfam currently has over 100 staff and volunteers working in seven districts in the country on the humanitarian response and all are safe. Oxfam is helping over 60,000 people over seven districts in Nepal, delivering clean water, emergency toilets, shelter, food assistance and hygiene kits. Reaching communities in the country’s rural districts has been challenging and initial reports suggest fresh landslides have cut off some areas. Ends// Jessica


Something like Karma: with Stop Hunger Now

On Saturday, March 28, 2015 our family participated in the second annual “Stop Hunger Now” meal packaging event organized by Richard Denton at the First Congregational Church meeting hall in Boxford, MA.  Here is that story in the local newspaper: http://boxford.wickedlocal.com/article/20150404/NEWS/150408202/12445/LIFESTYLE


This week, we heard from Richard Denton that Stop Hunger Now has already sent 200,000 meals to Nepal from their affiliate in India, and intends to send 1.2 million meals in total over the coming weeks, to support earthquake relief in Nepal.  For our family, for our children, the direct connection feels a lot like Karma.  Spending a Saturday morning packaging meals to provide necessary nutrients to people in dire need was a “fun project” for our kids, a neat opportunity to do a good deed.  Now that their father’s homeland has become the recipient of nutrient-rich meals from the same organization, our children have a  direct experience of the web that connects us all worldwide; every action has an impact.

Here is more from Stop Hunger Now about their plans in Nepal:


“Stop Hunger Now is preparing to provide disaster relief to Nepal in response to the devastation as a result of the recent 7.9 magnitude earthquake. In conjunction with Stop Hunger Now India and other non-governmental organization (NGO) partners in the region, Stop Hunger Now is working to provide food and other aid for victims of the earthquake.

With the help of volunteers and supporters, Stop Hunger Now wants to deliver at least 1.2 million meals to Nepal, which is enough to provide 2 meals per day for many as 21,000 people for one month. The initial response will include 700,000 meals to be packaged and shipped through the Stop Hunger Now affiliates in India and Malaysia, and 142,560 meals being air freighted from Kansas City, MO. In addition to meals, Stop Hunger Now shipments will include other critical supplies and donated aid such as health kits medical supplies. Stop Hunger Now is working with in-country partner Hope Worldwide Foundation  to distribute the meals and supplies.

Stop Hunger Now will stage meal packaging events, as well as transportation and distribution operations through its affiliate in Bangalore, India. Due to its close proximity to Nepal, Stop Hunger Now India will be able to coordinate the response faster, cheaper and more efficiently so that meals and other aid can get where it is needed most.”

Our personal “headlines”

Nepal is not in the headlines much anymore, but it is still in the forefront of our minds and hearts every day. We have been following friends and family who are there, ….We are following stories every day, and some themes we have found follow:

– Our family is resilient and hopeful – It is refreshing to see our 13-year-old neice in Kathmandu posting fun nonsense on facebook again – A sign of some return to normalcy for her at least.  Some extended family are still without a home, and everyone is coming together to help.  Beyond our relatives in Kathmandu valley, we feel a close bond with the people living in the rural and remote villages – Umesh was born in a small mountain village, Shyangja, and spent his elementary school years in another, larger village, Bandipur.  He later guided treks through the mountain regions, and in his heart has always considered rural Nepal “home.” We now worry about mountain villagers every day, and feel compelled to support them – where they have given shelter to travellers and trekkers, we now want to help them find shelter once again.  Where they harvested food on their farms, now at risk, we want to supply them with food while they recover.  Umesh’s brother Dinesh is on the board of Resource Himalaya Foundation, and has shared with us their plan for helping in the areas with greatest need.  Will post separately.

– There is value in coordinating with local existing service organizations of any kind – Watching things unfold, we saw lots of “glitches”  trying to distribute supplies efficiently to the places with greatest need.  It was small local organizations with varying missions that quickly mobilized to help connect supply with need.  Many of the larger relief organizations working in Nepal already had local headquarters, which helped.  Right now one of the biggest needs is temporary shelter with the monsoon season coming, and again, many organizations are coordinating to make this happen.

– The challenges of reaching remote areas are real – After two weeks, we are still hearing reports of isolated mountain villages (due to landslides etc) having recieved NO outside help at all!!  Examples:  only one out of seven Gorkha communities that EDWON works in have received aid;  One relief worker arrived in a village to find 10 different famlies living under one tent (around 60 people);  New to the list of supplies needed, is something to handle the smell from rotting bodies in villages that lost more than half of their population, including livestock, and 80% of their buildings.  The featured photograph (by @briansokol) with this post shows one of hundreds of villages like it that the photographer saw from the air when delivering food/supplies with MSF/Doctors Without Borders.

There are still concerns about making sure appropriate aid is sent to the appropriate places of need. Based on the challenges above, every group we follow seems to be trying their best to get appropriate help to where it is needed, no matter how remote.  The key is to work with the local people who have been helping one another from the start, the citizens who became “first responders” because there was no other option.  They are the heros that aid organizations must be connected with to help them repair and rebuild.  This includes populations that have been marginalized – EDWON is an organization advocating for aid to those who still struggle against prejudice based on their “tribe” or caste, in some remote regions of Nepal.   Their model positions them well to be leaders in rebuilding in their own villages, but not without some outside aid to get it started – They’ve lost too much.

Keeping up:  Today, we spoke with a local MA doctor who is travelling to Nepal tomorrow with Himalayan Health Care, focusing on the Dhading region, who will keep us posted. We have also been in contact with the founder of EDWON, who is very concerned about not overlooking some of the underserved Gorkha villages.  We continue to follow our friend who is working with Team Rubicon, as well as updates from Maiti Nepal, where they are seeking out children who have lost everything, and keeping them safe.  Both Oxfam and Unicef have increased their reach based on funds raised, and they report updates regularly.    We do also check in on and research other organizations that we trust, but those named here are the ones we have direct relationships with.

Summary of situation to date

We continue to follow things closely in Nepal, and these two articles summarize much of what we have been finding:



Reading these reports, and of course hoping we have helped in some small way, it is reassuring to hear from our Oxfam contact-person: “Oxfam has been in Nepal for 30 years. So we were prepared, along with local partners, for a disaster such as this one.” Similarly, UNICEF’s Nepal office had pre-positioned relief supplies and many local partners to mobilize quickly.  Following the local agencies has been remarkable – They have been quick to adjust to the literal and figurative roadblocks, and have responded by collaborating with one another… Maiti Nepal, a safe home for women and girls, became a distribution center for Tents-for-Nepal while caring for newly orphaned children.  Girls from an orphanage cooked meals for hundreds of newly homeless people in a camp. Disaster Psychiatry Outreach has already been set up. It is still a long road ahead, but hope is steady.  The larger beaurocratic structures did not adjust as quickly (the helicopter “shortage” and stocks of supplies waiting too long to be distributed where needed most), but they too seem to be coming around in many cases.  This has probably been the biggest roadblock for the most remote rural areas since the earthquake and aftershocks.

One of the charities we have known since it began fifteen years ago, EDWON, is located in Gorkha, which is mentioned in the first article as one of the hardest to reach areas. Their perserverence and determination is helping them do whatever they can to get the aid needed to the places it is needed most.  We worry for those in remote and rural areas who lost their families, their homes, their livelihoods, livestock, and food-stores.   We are still following their progress, and seeking out the agencies best situated to help them moving forward.  Will keep you posted…

Touching song by Nepali cousin

Song Title:  “Love for My Homeland” = “Mero Deshko Maya Chha”

Some of you may want to have tissues handy to watch this – nothing jarring but the song with the photographs from this past week can bring emotions to surface.  So you have been warned.

Here is a song composed by a cousin, Vikas Shrestha, post-earthquake in Nepal as part of a fund raising effort by Nepalese communities abroad.  His niece (another cousin) shared it with us today.

He has “dedicated the song to all Nepali brothers and sisters in Nepal and around the world who are united in thoughts and actions during this time of human tragedy, unity and resilience.”

Here is the link:

Because I like to understand how the language is translated, here is each work broken down:  

Mero = My;

Deshko = Homeland-for;

Maya = Love;

Chha = There is.


May 4 Oxfam update

imageAid travels via India to remote villages hit by Nepal earthquake
May 4, 2015 By Oxfam

An Oxfam truck filled with relief supplies left India on April 30, bound for remote villages in the Gorkha region of Nepal. Photo: Oxfam

Oxfam is trucking supplies across borders to help some hard-to-reach communities.

When a major earthquake struck Nepal on April 25, the damage went far beyond the city of Kathmandu. Many rural parts of the country were affected, too—particularly the Gorkha region, near the epicenter of the quake.

Oxfam aid workers report that in some Gorkha villages, up to 80 percent of houses were destroyed. There are no organized camps set up there, so people are sleeping outside in the chilly and rainy weather.
“This is not sustainable, especially for the sick, elderly, and children,” said Oxfam India’s Andrio Naskar. “Women—especially those who are pregnant or breast-feeding—are desperate for private spaces to wash and bathe, while rudimentary sanitation systems have been wrecked.”

Travel to remote areas of Nepal is difficult at the best of times. Now aid workers face huge challenges trying to reach scattered rural communities on the steep slopes that cover most of the country. These villages are often only accessible via dirt roads, some of which have been blocked by landslides. Nationwide fuel shortages, ongoing heavy rainfall, and congestion at Kathmandu airport add to the difficulty.

To help get aid to people as quickly as possible, Oxfam is trucking supplies into Gorkha through India. Three trucks left Gorkhpur seeking access from India on Thursday, loaded with essential items for those who have lost everything: tarpaulins, foam sheets, water containers, chlorine tablets, and solar-powered lamps. Another two trucks from Kolkata are stocked with water filters and latrine construction materials.

The convoy reached villages in Gorhka yesterday. The trucks may not be able to get to every community directly—the terrain is so rough that some villages can only be reached by foot—but bringing aid by road from India helps get supplies that much closer to the people who need them.

Oxfam aims to reach 430,000 people affected by the earthquake, focusing on clean water, sanitation, and emergency shelter. Yesterday’s delivery is one small piece of the response, but for those who have lost their homes and so much more, it may be a very important one.

SOURCE: http://www.oxfamamerica.org/explore/stories/aid-travels-via-india-to-remote-villages-hit-by-nepal-earthquake/

From Umesh’s brother

Thank you for your call the other day, prompting me to post this mail along-with some glimpses of earthquake aftermath that are relevant and close to our concern. I should have done it long hours back, but some kind of numbness is stuck with me/us after this disastrous Earthquake April 2015.
We are all survived, though the fear is still killing us. Those who remained, rescued themselves by taking shelter on roadside or any open area available. We have lost several of our friends or their families, no house is remained without a damage or loss of property- less or high. In remote mountains, settlements have perished to the ground.
This, however, was not the only one earthquake we had; in the past there were several and severe. Human beings are but resilient, this very attribute has brought us up to this stage (of civilization). Our responsibility for the generation awaiting, therefore, is to face it, stand up and advance.
Thanking you all for being with us at this crucial moment,

Update from Unicef

Nepal earthquake one week on: UNICEF warns of disease risk for children


Photos and video can be downloaded here: http://uni.cf/1HH6SbO 


KATHMANDU, 2 May 2015 – One week on from the earthquake in Nepal, UNICEF says the health and wellbeing of children affected by the disaster are hanging in the balance – as many have been left homeless, in deep shock and with no access to basic care. With the monsoon season only a few weeks away, children will be at heightened risk of diseases like cholera and diarrhoeal infections, as well as being more vulnerable to the threat of landslides and floods.

“The earthquake has caused unimaginable destruction,” said Rownak Khan, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Nepal. “Hospitals are overflowing, water is scarce, bodies are still buried under the rubble and people are still sleeping in the open. This is a perfect breeding ground for diseases.”

The April 25 earthquake flattened more than 130,000 homes and left 3 million people in need of food assistance. Some 24,000 people are currently staying in 13 camps in Kathmandu. In a country where just over 40 per cent of children are stunted, fears for children’s nutrition are rising. At least 15,000 children with severe acute malnutrition require therapeutic feeding. There is also an urgent need for children in the 12 most affected districts to get back to their normal routine by setting up child-friendly spaces, opening schools and providing access to basic services, such as health and water.

As soon as the earthquake struck one week ago, UNICEF used its pre-positioned relief supplies to mount an emergency response and was able to provide aid, including tents to serve as emergency clinics at hospitals, tarpaulin for shelter, water trucking services in informal camps, water purification tablets and hygiene kits.

UNICEF is broadening its response so that children in the most severely affected communities, including those in hard-to-reach areas beyond Kathmandu, are provided with lifesaving services and supplies.

“We have a small window of time to put in place measures that will keep earthquake-affected children safe from infectious disease outbreaks – a danger that would be exacerbated by the wet and muddy conditions brought on with the rains,” said Khan. “That’s why it’s so crucial to get essential medicine, medical equipment, tents and water supplies out to these areas now.”

In the past week, UNICEF has:

  • Flown in more than 80 tons of aid, including tents, plastic sheeting, blankets, nutrition supplies, vaccinations and other life-saving medicines.
  • Set up child friendly spaces in informal camps, to offer support to help children recover from their experiences, as well as a safe place where they can play and learn.
  • Delivered aid to remote areas outside the Kathmandu valley – including in Kavre and Gorkha districts, where UNICEF teams provided thousands of people with soap, water purification tablets, tarpaulins and buckets. In Dhading district, hygiene and family kits and water purification tablets have been dropped to seven remote villages using helicopters.
  • Set up psychological support services in Gorkha, Kaski, Sindhuli, Kavre, Ramechhap and Kathmandu.

On Saturday live on-air programmes begin on national radio aimed at providing life-saving information and also expert counselling for children, women and families living in remote parts of the districts hit by the earthquake. The programmes will be aired four times throughout the day.

UNICEF has launched a US$50 million appeal to support its humanitarian response to the earthquake in Nepal for the next three months.

Lending his voice to the children of Nepal, UNICEF Ambassador Orlando Bloom, who has visited Nepal twice with UNICEF, has recorded an appeal urging support for UNICEF’s emergency efforts. The video can be accessed here.

Please donate at www.supportunicef.org/nepal 



Interviews are available with UNICEF staff working on the emergency response.


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.


For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook


For further information and interview requests, please contact:

Rupa Joshi, UNICEF Nepal, + 977 9851054140  rjoshi@unicef.org

Rose Foley, UNICEF New York (currently in Nepal), +1917 340 2582, rfoley@unicef.org

Kent Page, UNICEF New York (currently in Nepal), +19173021735, kpage@unicef.org

Chris Tidey, UNICEF, +1 917 909 9542, ctidey@unicef.org