Rasuwa Relief’s ground team conducted a field assessment visit to villages and IDP camps of lower Rasuwa and upper Nuwakot districts from 26-27 June 2015. In addition to distributing Aspect Solar power units for household charging stations in Haku 2 Camp, we initiated plans for the construction of temporary learning centers and modular educational facilities for 100 children from 1000+ households displaced from the villages/VDCs of Haku, Mailung, Dandagaon, and others at Shanti Bazaar and Haku 2 camps. Please stay tuned for updates on this service effort and contact us anytime for ways that you can help.
Sanitation projects have been completed at the Yellow Gomba Langtang IDP Camp – Rasuwa Relief added three pre-fabricated toilets connected to a 5,000L self-digesting tank (to limit impacts to the monastery during the monsoon). Currently there are only five working toilets at the camp for over 300 people, shared with the gompa – twenty minute wait times reported in the morning, for example. By increasing the waste management capacity of the system, we are hoping to alleviate some of these pressures before the monsoon.
Below is a letter from Temba Lama, Lhakpa Tamang Jangba, and other members of the Langtang Management and Reconstruction Committee who are leading the Langtang Community in rebuilding efforts. This provides some good detail on the current thinking about reconstruction, the scale of reconstruction (126 families need new homes) and the relevant issues with government and resettlement etc.
Also, if you are a person or an organization working to support the Langtang Community (formal NGOs, crowdfunding campaigns, etc) or you know someone who is, please share this document and add your information to this list.
Letter from Langtang Management and Reconstruction Committee:
“Unifying and coordinating efforts to reconstruct Langtang
We, survivors of Langtang have had meetings during June and May and have talked to many associations and NGO’s that are helping us. We have talked about many things, many projects, but the main is how to reconstruct Langtang. This an enormous and very difficult task and we need a lot of help.
We have drafted a first document of how we would like to do this (we attach PDF), but we depend a lot on the government’s help, particularly regarding a new site to reconstruct the village, respecting the size of land that each family had. The reason is that the area of the old settlement has been rejected and the valley is a natural park (construction can’t take place anywhere).
We have calculated that 126 families need new homes and the costs will be approximately 30,000 euros per house as the costs of transporting materials up to 4,000 meters have to be added to the costs of workforce and building materials.
Furthermore, the paths and hanging bridges that give access to the different villages of the valley of Langtang also have to be restored. Although the government is talking about a plan to restore the routes of Langtang valley in 2 years (see news article in this TAAN web page), many of us doubt it as there is no approved plan and it might just remain as a proposal if we don’t pressure the Government.
We also want to ask the government to donate part of the fees it has charged tourists during the last 10 years for visiting Langtang valley. We think they should share the benefits with us to use them directly for the reconstruction.
We are waiting for a response to our petitions on behalf of the Nepali government, as for the moment we can’t do anything because it has forbidden access to Langtang claiming it is too dangerous and it cannot be held responsible for whatever happens. However, 40 villagers have already gone up to Langtang to start to restore paths, build refuges for their animals etc. Most are very worried and believe the government is not going to help them and is even going to declare the area as a catastrophe zone and prohibit access to their land.
The government has announced that Langtang valley is inhabitable, projecting a wrong image to the world. Only a few kilometers are destroyed and wide areas of the valley are safe and very beautiful. The geological study should be done in the whole area in order to increase people’s trust. The government should do all it can to raise awareness on the fact that the valley can be visited again and promote tourism, which is so important to our economy. The full support of the government is very important to us, so that the valley can rise again for the February 2016 season.
For this enormous task we need the help of all NGO’s, associations and organizations that are searching for funds for Langtang.
No matter how, we want to start this project after the rains end at the end of September.
We understand that every organization has its projects or can support the projects it wishes or can even support one particular family, but until people don’t have their homes and fields to survive, the rest cannot be achieved.
We can talk about future projects to build a school so that children don’t have to study somewhere else far away from their parents, or a hospital to have medical care nearby, or build a monastery so that people can celebrate the parties and funerals and maintain their Tibetan culture. We can also repair the small hydropower plant to recover energy for the area, build greenhouses so there are fresh vegetables and they don’t have to get them from the valley or create textile workshops so that women can gain independence….
All this is fine, they are great ideas, but if people don’t have homes, what’s the point?
That is why we ask you to unite strengths and coordinate to manage this enormous task.
– We would like that a representative of each association comes to each of the meetings to give us ideas a disseminate what we have talked about. We will send e-mails to whoever is interested, but it is important that you send this information to whoever can help us.
– We would love that all foreigners who have visited the Langtang valley or wish to visit to do so, write to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Nepal to ask for the fast recovery of Langtang Valley:
Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil AviationSingha Durbar, Kathmandu, Nepal
Tel.: 977-1-4211992, 4211669, 4211846, 4211847, 4211711, 4211685, 4211825, 4231196, 4211909
E-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Department of Tourism Bhrikutimandap, Kathmandu
Tel.: 977-1-4247037, 4256228, 4256231, 4256232
E-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
– Once the reconstruction project starts we will need great economic support. If we all work together as transparently as possible we have more chances that the project succeeds.
– For the reconstruction we want to create a volunteer project so that anyone who wishes to do so, can come and help us, sharing with us much more than work and establishing links in the long term.
– We also need to think of the families who need medical care, can’t go to Langtang and need to stay near the hospitals in Kathmandu. For them we will need to rent houses and provide carers and cleaners as long as required.
– Besides all this, we have to say many people have collaborated with the project to sponsor children in Langtang. Thanks to them all children of Langtang are going to school and are guaranteed food, somewhere to sleep and education. This avoids parents worrying and helps them to start recovering their lives.
In the following link you will see a list of associations gathering funds for Langtang:
Please, if you know any that is not on the list, inform us so that we can send them this information.
Name of Campaigns
Langtang Village of Nepal Relief Fund
Rasuwa Earthquake Relief Fund
All Hands for Nepal
Sustainable Step Nepal: Rescue and Relief for Rural Nepal
Langtang Survivors Foundation
Nepal Earthquake- Rebuild Langtang
Sai Help Nepal: Shelter and Reconstruction in Langtang
Langtang Disaster Relief Fund
Nepal 4 Relief
Help Sydney and Bailey in Nepal
Fund Relief Work – Langtang, Nepal
Rescued in Langtang
Tsering Lama & Family from Langtang Nepal
The Langtang Nepal Karma Fund
Help Langtang Valley
Raise a Village
With best regards,
Langtang Management and Reconstruction Committee
E-mail : email@example.com
May 22, 2015.
Today, a puja was held today in memory of the people of the Langtang Valley who were lost during the April 25th earthquake and the avalanche that buried the village of Langtang. The event was held outside of the Yellow Gompa camp, at Mustang Gompa in Swayambunath, where hundreds of people gathered to honor the souls of the deceased. It was an intense but beautiful day.
Reflecting the intense mix of sorrow and urgency that characterizes life around the camp, an open meeting of the Langtang Disaster Management and Reconstruction Committee – the elected leadership of the displaced Langtang community – was held immediately following the meeting. This meeting discussed several important issues, the three major issues being:
1. The creation of their own Langtang Valley Disaster Relief Fund (fund established, website pending) which will give them important autonomy and agency in determining the dimensions of reconstruction… Rasuwa Relief and other groups have enthusiastically agreed to support this effort and help encourage direct donations to Langtang via this fund.
2. Current plans for the improvement of the camp at the Yellow Gompa which include the construction of large overarching bamboo ‘greenhouse’ structures that will provide both better monsoon shelter and covered community space – construction to commence on Sunday, thanks to the initiative of Amit @ Sustainable Steps Nepal.
3. VERY IMPORTANT – A meeting with Prime Minister Sushil Koirala to be held tomorrow morning at 8am, which will give the leadership of the Langtang community an opportunity to voice their current needs and to directly communicate their desire to resettle themselves in the Langtang Valley post-monsoon. At today’s meeting, a preliminary plan was discussed that would involve multiple stages of a) further recovery and excavation in the near-term, b) periodic short visits during the monsoon, to conduct scientific risk assessments, c) the resettlement of some of the population to work toward reconstruction, perhaps making use of temporary structures, and d) full resettlement for all of the community members who wish to return.
Regarding resettlement, the question of agency is a major one in the current political climate, but we at Rasuwa Relief fully support the right for the Langtang community to make their own decision.
May 21, 2015.
Timure, Khaidi and Ghattekhola have faced some significant damages. The centre of Timure has been completely destroyed. Where there were old/beautiful houses, chortens and small cobbled alleyways now has only piled rocks.
Landslides caused by the earthquake have only created more fear amongst the people who constantly look up to see if there are more boulders falling down. Most of the families have already moved up to Khaidi where the danger of landslides is not as eminent but come monsoon a significant number will be moving higher up to Syaubari, living in tents/tarpaulins. According to some, this will be the hardest monsoon they will be facing in a long long time. The same fate awaits the people in Ghattekhola and Khaidi.
Rasuwagadhi looks post-apocalyptic; heavy machinery, industrial noise, high winds, dust all around, dry slopes, raging river, scraps of metal and clothes all over. As indicated by Rabi Thapa, “They are planning to stabilise the main slide at the border with a buffer zone above it, which means they will not be excavating the mass of rock and human/material remains in its entirely, as the customs and clearance agents might prefer. A high-level security meeting took place yesterday to decide on future road clearing activities. There is talk of moving the customs house to Timure, due to the risk posed by landslides..”
An 8.5 ton shipment including rice, oil, salt, tarps and solar chargers reached over 350 households in Briddim, Timure, and Syaphru VDCs. The first lot in Syaphru was ably distributed under the leadership of Akio ‘Prachanda’ Asahara, who claimed ‘Malai ta yaha ko biralo ko naam pani thahacha’. He proved it in his super-efficient, precisely documented distribution of relief materials among the wards of the villages surrounding Syaphru and Briddim. Aregato!
Thanks to the unreliable brakes of one of our trucks, however, we rolled into Syaphru so late it was dark by the time we headed to Timure along the road recently cleared by China’s road repair detachment. Understandably, our driver freaked out when he saw one of the landslides past Ling Ling (the same one we walked over last week) was still ‘active’ – spitting rocks onto the road. We beat a reluctant, hasty retreat to Syaphru and its own active landslide and organised another truck for 8 the next morning.
Come morning, guruji was nowhere to be seen. His services had been hijacked by another relief operation led by lamas from Kathmandu to Timure, and it was noon by the time he returned (after a tree was removed from the road by the Nepal Army). We got to Timure early afternoon and negotiated slightly suspect expanding and contracting lists of households commandeered by local elites before distributing our goods to the good people of Timure by 5, by which time another, larger truck from another Lama sangh had arrived. The local hydro project had also provided relief the day before.
By noon the next day, as we readied ourselves to leave following a visit to observe the impressive, highly risky Chinese effort to clear the landslide that buried an estimated 25-30, another truck led by Bibeksheel Nepal had come and gone. As we lunched on dust in the back of a tipper on our way back to Dhunche, we passed several other convoys headed at least to Syaphru, and more on our way to Kathmandu, including from Action Aid, Goal, and a truck stuck on the road, all the way from Birgunj.
Both in Timure and Dhunche, police and army clearly indicated that privately organised relief was excessive, uncoordinated and liable to lead to dependency. In the case of Timure VDC at least, we have to agree. We strongly recommend curtailing food aid here. Each household on the list has in the first couple of days received several tarps and several sacks of rice (and counting). Battalion Commander in Dhunche Lt Col Laxman Thapa has requested that all such initiatives let the CDO/LDO know that such and such aid has been delivered, even if they prefer to distribute themselves, so the state can better coordinate efforts to needy areas. If we do not go on record, we are not on anyone’s records except that of our own, and that will inevitably lead to duplication. Good intentions need to be backed up by better coordination. Lesson learned, we hope. The landslips are still active, so clearing will be required up to Syaphru every now and again. They are planning to stabilise the main slide at the border with a buffer zone above it, which means they will not be excavating the mass of rock and human/material remains in its entirely, as the customs and clearance agents might prefer. A high-level security meeting took place yesterday to decide on future road clearing activities. There is talk of moving the customs house to Timure, due to the risk posed by landslides.