The Himalayanwonders team just returned from the Dhading Region of Nepal where we successfully distributed 6000kg of rice to 200 families. Here is a brief report of my experience in the region.
On the morning of May 4 I flew from Lukla to Kathmandu in order to help organize our relief efforts. Nishes and I spent the day of the 4th putting plans in place to buy the rice and transport it to the small village of Tripureshwor (see it on Google maps). Our plan was to buy the rice and arrange for transport in Dhading Besi rather than Kathmandu as the cost worked out being cheaper. Dhading Besi is the district headquarters of the Dhading region and one of the larger cities.
The eight of us representing HimalayanWonders left Kathmandu in a rented Scorpio Mahindra. The road to Dhading is the same as the main road which goes to Pokhara but heads north from Trishuli towards the mountains about 70km from Kathmandu. We continued north on a secondary but still paved road to Dhading Besi where we purchased the rice and paid for the transport. We rented one truck and one tractor with trailer as no other trucks were available. We also obtained permission from the local political office to distribute the rice.
The road from Dhading Besi to Tripureshwor is only 34 km but is a rough 4 hour drive over the mountain and back down into the valley on the other side which is a tributary of the Buri Gandaki River. Moving around in Nepal is painfully slow, bumpy and dusty. The entire journey of 122km (73 miles) took us over 8 hours of driving.
Driving over the mountains we saw that many of the houses had been damaged but arriving in Tripureshwor Village we found almost every house completely destroyed. This probably is the result of both its proximity to the epicenter of the earthquake but also due to the fact the village is situated on a river terrace. River Terraces are deposits composed of sands and gravels which could act amplify the waves of the earthquake. It’s likely that the houses situated on the sides of the mountain suffered less damage since they are essentially on a firmer substrate.
We arrived in the village at around 6pm and it was already close to dark. Our rice arrived several hours later as the tractor trailer we rented was quite slow getting over the mountain. The rice was unpacked into one of the standing buildings so that we could distribute it in the morning.
To my surprise very little relief from other agencies had reached this area despite the damage. I was in fact expecting to see a lot of relief trucks from the big international organizations that had raised so much money but even on the main road from Kathmandu they were surprisingly absent. Some relief was trickling but it was mainly from small charities and church groups that had the ability to act quickly and independently.
I had a chance in the morning to get out and survey some of the destruction along with a few of our guides. Most of them lived on the other side of the river and a makeshift bridge had put in place that permitted a dangerous river crossing. Everybody in the villages has set up tarps to live under and tried to pull what belongings they can from their house. Even the houses that are still standing are so damaged that no one wants to go inside and most of the villagers are thinking how to pull down these houses so that children won’t get hurt in the rubble.
A good number of the villagers are working trying to take apart their old house and use the building materials that are still in good condition to create makeshift houses that can protect their families from the monsoon rains that will start sometime in June.
Some heated arguments took place in the village about the distribution of tents that another relief organization had brought. Fortunately, we had a list with the names of the approximately 200 families in the area and were able to distribute the rice as intended without any issues.
Several of the guides working for Himalayanwonders live in Tripureshwor and I think without their assistance this relief effort would have been much harder to organize. Upon arriving we immediately had the trust of the locals and everyone worked with us to help us distribute things in a fair manner. It would be much more difficult to execute the same operation in other villages without having some type of local trust to build on.
Fortunately, on the drive back out to Kathmandu we saw a number of relief trucks carrying supplies to the area so it looks like we just arrived a bit quicker than everyone else. Regardless of the supplies brought in so far a lot of rebuilding is left in the area and continued relief efforts will be needed through the next few months until the people in the region have time to rebuild their homes.
The following is the complete list of people in Tripureshwor receiving aid from HimalayanWonders (Click to view)