Quake Relief Trickles into Nepal’s Villages

Nepal earthquake
Villagers awaiting assistance in one of Nepal’s remote villages damaged by the recent earthquake.                                           Photos courtesy of Rosalind Russell.

Bearing supplies enough for 150 families to one of Nepal’s devastated remote villages, Rabindra Sitaula encountered near riots when 350 people in need arrived and tried to loot supplies Wednesday.

Sitaula serves as program manager in Nepal for the R Star Foundation, based in Laguna Beach, which for a decade has distributed donated goats to isolated villages to improve living standards.

Foundation founder Rosalind Russell said this week that not a single charity or government authority has delivered aid to any of the 48 goat-receiving villages she’s involved with, all of which were damaged by the April 25 quake.

“Ninety percent of our villagers all lost their homes,” she said, and now residents are at high risk for cholera and other diseases due to exposure as the rainy season arrives.

She said the foundation lacks the funds to buy cholera vaccine.

Nepal earthquake
Supplies of rice and daal are hand carried to a village this week by R Star’s team.

Earlier, Sitaula delivered beans, rice, tea and sugar, as well as heavy plastic sheeting for makeshift shelters to 600 people in two villages within days of the 7.9 quake, said Russell.

“Rabin tells me how the scared villagers have hope because of the supplies arriving unbelievably fast, faster than even Kathmandu appears to be receiving,” she said. “To our knowledge, none of our villages in the largest hard hit area of Nepal has received help other than what we have provided. Airdrops are just beginning.  We do not know if the drops will cover any of our furthermost villagers. We are hopeful, but dubious other relief will arrive to help our villagers, ever. What we are doing is saving lives now.”

Nepal earthquake
R Star workers establish a medical camp in earthquake hit Baluwa this week.

Situala estimates he’s distributed supplies to 1,000 people so far, but has exhausted the emergency funds on hand, said Russell, who intended to wire more quake relief this week. Her efforts are drawing support from unlikely places, such as $1,000 promised by the Unity Church of Boulder and a banker in Australia, who grew up in now-destroyed Baluwa, Russell said Thursday.

“This is not the time to stop the help arriving to our villagers,” she said. “We need your

nepal earthquake
Burning of bodies in a quake hit Nepal village.

immediate help. This is truly a catastrophic world event where more lives will be lost should relief not reach our near 30,000 villagers.”

Meanwhile, some young orphans in Nepal are doing their part to help quake victims, though quake damage displaced them from the Kathmandu orphanage founded by Laguna Beach resident Christine Casey.

The 25 young residents of Chhahari, which means shelter in Nepalese, are temporarily living in the home of Nepal board member Dawa Tamang.

Casey and Tamang’s 18-year-old daughter, Ongmu, decided on a plan to ask the children

Nepal earthquake
Chhahari kids eye cholera medication provided by a friend of the earthquake damaged orphanage in Nepal. Photo courtesy of Christine Casey.

to participate in helping a few of the hardest hit villages in the Kathmandu valley, Casey said in an email this week.

“Ongmu explained to our children the sad circumstances of some people living very close and asked each child to go to their cupboard and choose some clothes to give other children,” Casey said. “They were all anxious and happy to run to their rooms and pick out something to put into the bag.”

“Ongmu is researching the villages where we should go and our taxi driver, Maishe, along with four Chhahari children, Ongmu and me will be delivering our collection in a few days,” Casey said.

More info: RStarFoundation.org and Chhahari.org.

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