Nov 5, 2015

EARTHQUAKE RELIEF - SIX MONTHS LATER

The first of 500 new homes
The first of 500 new homes

ANNOUNCEMENT!

 Dear Supporters of the DCWC Relief Project:

We are closing our Relief Project as of this report. The reason is that we have now moved beyond the actual relief stage and are actively helping families build temporary/permanent homes before the cold of winter arrives.

We have therefore created a new project with Global Giving.  You can find us under #21975,500 homes for earthquake victims in Kavre,  Nepal”, and we hope you will continue to support us here.

Large sums of aid money have been pledged by international agencies to help in rebuilding Nepal after the devastating earthquakes of last Spring. Yet some sources believe the aid industry is in need of an overhaul itself and that only a fraction of the promised resources will actually end up in the country. Instead, privately funded NGOs on the ground are working hard to fill the immense needs of their people. 

That is why we are particularly grateful to all of you who have given so generously to the DCWC Earthquake Relief project. Your money has gone directly to where it was needed. It has allowed us to not only provide basic necessities like rice and lentils, kitchen utensils, mattresses, blankets and plastic tenting for temporary shelters to hundreds of families right after the earthquakes, but also to slowly shift our focus to the tasks of repairing and building more secure shelters to protect people from the elements.

In collaboration with families in the Kavre Palanchok area DCWC has committed to build 500 temporary homes for those who lost their traditional stone houses in the strong May 12th earthquake.

The new homes will measure 10x20 feet and have two rooms. Rock and mud walls (topped with cement) will be the base, with bamboo for the walls, topped off with a tin roof. Post and beam construction provides the framework (see pictures).  Once moved in, families can then opt to weather proof their new homes with traditional materials. These dwellings are meant to last for at least the next five to ten years or until a family can afford to rebuild their traditional stone house.

We are implementing our project in partnership with the Disaster Management Committee of the local VDC (Village Development Committee) and in close coordination with different government line agencies and other stakeholders in this area. The VDC is selecting the families that need new homes, and they also manage the effective rotation of manpower so that all families have adequate extra building crews during the construction process.  All families are committing ‘elbow grease’ and a $150 government stipend for windows and doors to the process. With your generous help we hope to contribute $250 per structure for cement, tin and professional supervision to live up to our ambitious goal.  

A DCWC team closely monitors all construction during this new building phase. They are technical professionals who support & supervise the projects regularly to guarantee the quality of the work being done. They meet in the village, report on their findings, make suggestions, and help people negotiate the complicated application process for the government stipend that had many an illiterate farmer give up on getting any help.

As of the end of last month 42 families have been able to move into new homes. 42 families that are now able to put their lives back together, start working their fields again, maybe even replace the chickens or goats that perished in the quakes.  

The importance of your help to these poor families in recreating their lives cannot be overstated. The devastation has frayed the fabric of communities not only by leaving so many homeless, by exposing adults and children alike to substandard nutrition, but also by pushing young and old men alike to seek a better life in urban centers or abroad. Too often the promise of this better life remains unfulfilled. For those left behind the need for a home as a hub of safety in a life torn apart is more important than ever.  

For the sake of our Nepali brothers and sisters, please continue to stand with us until every last one of the 500 families in our target area has moved into their new home. 

With deep gratitude for your support,

Karin Reibel,  Project Leader

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cutting bamboo for new construction
Cutting bamboo for new construction
Laying the foundation
Laying the foundation
New home from inside - work in progress
New home from inside - work in progress
Nov 3, 2015

RISEN FROM THE ASHES

New mom Sunita with her baby girl
New mom Sunita with her baby girl

Six months after the earthquake, the Kavre region in Nepal is still scrambling to overcome the effects of the devastating Spring earthquakes. While much aid money has been pledged to help rebuild the country, very little of it has actually reached Nepal, and even less has reached the subsistence farming populations in the Kavre/Sindhupalchok area. Throughout,  the DCWC team has delivered livesaving relief supplies and medical attention to local communities.

With the help of your generous donations and a strong work crew DCWC has just finished repairing the extensive damage to the second floor of the Rajbash hospital. This even includes a new ramp to the second floor of the building that is housing our maternity ward. Women who arrive in labor can now be wheeled into the birthing center in greater comfort and safety.

More and more young women are now choosing to come to Rajbash for perinatal care and delivery. However, others, like 18 year old Sunita from Nagre, wait until there are complications. Here is her story:

“My labour pain started from the evening and all the women of my home including some women from my neighbor gathered around me to let out the baby from me in my home.  All people were encouraging me to push out the baby but it was not working as they had expected. Then a woman was suggesting all people to take me to the hospital, but it was raining hard so that ambulance would not be able to reach my home and it’s almost midnight. After a while four people carried me on their shoulder and I was covered by some plastic to drain rain on the way to the hospital.  After one hour, we went to the hospital and all the staff of the hospital came and gave some medicine (epidural) and I gave birth to a female child.  I was so happy that the hospital is providing quality service to us people otherwise me and my baby may be unable to get this life. Thank you, the entire hospital unit.  May god will give all strength to provide this type of quality service to us.”

Our regular patient load is slightly higher than pre-earthquake levels. We believe that the reassuring presence of the hospital at the center of the earthquake devastation has raised people’s awareness of our services and lessened the loyalties to the local healers that may have kept people away previously. Our Community and School Health Awareness programs with several monthly presentations also educate people in issues of health and hygiene, and how the hospital can be of help in their lives. 

The months of September and October brought some visitors to Rajbash. A Global Giving team came to Rajbash to experience first hand the day to day life at the hospital as well as DCWCs school projects and rebuilding efforts. Global Giving has been incredibly encouraging of our work in Nepal and we hope that their team’s feedback will prove us worthy of their support. 

Two young American nurses, Desiree and Jessica, came to volunteer at the Hospital for a month. Quick friendships were built between staff and visitors and both young women felt that in a short month they got an education of a lifetime. We want to share with you what happened when they and Gary Collier (DCWC UK)  took a hike one day:

"Thank you Gary Collier for sharing the miraculous story and being a part of the team who saved this young boy's life. It is said that when you save one life, you save the world..... Along with all of those who were there that day, DCWC Nepal's ambulance and Community Hospital played a huge part in this child being alive today!

Gary Collier posted: While in Nepal in September we took a days walk away from our DCWC Nepal hospital to go and see how our earthquake house rebuilding program was getting along. We saw many temporary houses being built along the way and the impact it was having on the many affected by the earthquake. Late in the day as we were ready to head back we were asked to go and see a little boy who was very sick. It was apparent the boy was in such a bad way he only had hours to live. His parents were distraught. In April the earthquake had completely destroyed their home and from that time Sanjeevs health had deteriorated. The monsoon had come and gone but the lack of rain meant a complete crop failure for Sanjeevs family. Homeless and without any crop harvest to see them through the winter, Sanjeevs parents now were seeing their 12 year old son die in front of them. The medical staff we had with us knew the boy was beyond help. It was a long way to our hospital but we felt if we could get him there then he could at least pass away in comfort and with care. For many hours Sanjeev was stretchered by members of his family to Chourikhola where we had the ambulance waiting to take him to the hospital at Rajabas. After spending the night on a drip miraculously Sanjeev was able to sit up and even later was able to go to the toilet. Several days later we felt there was enough hope to get him to Kathmandu where since Sanjeev has continued his amazing recovery. This is a picture of Sanjeev yesterday in Kanti Childrens hospital. He is a very lucky boy. If we hadn't walked by his home that day he most certainly wouldn't be here. It is a credit to all involved in the process from our fantastic Rajbash Hospital staff guided by Dr Uddhav Lama, the drive of Akka Lama, the two American volunteer nurses, Desirée Landry and Jessica Vance, and the fine care at Kanti Hospital that Sanjeev is now recovered and thriving."

In closing we want to invite you to join us in April 2016, the one year anniversary of the earthquake,  for a month long 'mini peace corps' mission at the hospital in Rajbash. You can be part of a corps of ten, helping to rebuild the hospital's kitchen. In addition there will be time for cultural immersion, hiking into remote villages for healthcamps, training locals in the use of solar cookers and possibly the creation of a sustainable/marketable agricultural project. If you burn to share your skills and desire to help, this is your chance to do so precisely where the need is. For more information please contact: Patrick & Karin, email: pgraneys@yahoo.com. If you are not able to join us in April, please consider supporting our efforts with a donation.

With deep gratitude for all you have contributed towards the ongoing support of the Rajbash community hospital and the people it serves,

Karin Reibel & Patrick Graney

12 yr. old Sanjeev, recovering at Kanti hospital
12 yr. old Sanjeev, recovering at Kanti hospital
Second floor of hosp. being fortified and rebuilt
Second floor of hosp. being fortified and rebuilt
2nd floor being repaired and fortified
2nd floor being repaired and fortified
Aug 4, 2015

After the Earthquake

Burn patient Lukky with her parents
Burn patient Lukky with her parents

Just as we submitted our last report about Rajbash, several strong earthquakes and numerous aftershocks shook the small country of Nepal.  Huge areas of the country were devastated and over 2 million Nepalis left homeless, mostly in rural areas.

While aid started pouring into Nepal immediately from all over the world, the Nepali government was overwhelmed with the tasks before them. Nepalis started to help themselves. The staff of DCWC and the Rajbash hospital immediately started buying rice and other basic necessities of daily life in Kathmandu and distributed them to the people, many of whom lost everything in the earthquakes. They rented vehicles and hauled supplies to drop-off points from which they were carried on the backs of DCWC staff and volunteers into remote villages. In collaboration with government agents and with many volunteers they set out to canvass many of the villages in the surrounding area to assess damages and needs.  Like in many villages in the hard hit Sindhupalchok area, 70% of the houses in the little town of Rajbash were destroyed; livestock was lost, rice and animal feed stored in homes was spoiled. Power poles had been covered by landslides, and the monsoon rains were not going to help the general chaos.  While the staff- and outbuildings in the hospital compound were undamaged, our hospital sustained damage to the walls on the second floor and lost a good deal of diagnostic equipment.  Afraid to stay inside the building, the staff erected a tented area in a field next to the hospital where they treated patients safe from falling stones. For 12 days the hospital held a free medical camp for people affected by the earthquake. 520 patients were treated during that time while right next to them the relief effort was going on.  

The hospital yard had become a command center for relief activities in the region. Plastic tarps for temporary shelters were measured out, blankets, matting, food and  basic kitchen utensils assembled to assist people in creating make shift lives until government help would arrive to let them replace what they had lost.  

It has been three months now since the earth began to move. The government has taken control of aid distribution, an enormous task. Most people still feel they have to rely on themselves to reclaim what they lost. In this NGOs on the ground in Nepal play a vital part.

As of this writing the damage to the second floor of the hospital is being repaired.  As the monsoon rains are soaking the area, our staff is ready to move operations back inside the building. The American organization Medshare donated an entire container of medical equipment and medicines which were distributed to a number of different hospitals. With this help we have been able to replace some of the equipment and medicines that were lost during the earthquakes.  

Also during the month of June we were able to finally install our long awaited solar power panels. Sitting high atop the staff building they are providing electricity to the entire hospital compound and make us independent of the now buried electric grid.

As can be expected, the last months saw a surge in patient numbers.  The earthquake and its aftermath truly took its toll with people injured through falling debris, with contaminated or broken watersupplies, and the ubiquitous dust laying over the rubble. Orthopedic cases increased by 150%, infectious diseases were up 155% and skin conditions rose by 300%! 

One little girl, 4 year old Lukky, came to our make shift hospital tent with extensive burns on her hands and her lower body. She and her sister were helping to fill Kerosene into lanterns when suddenly there were flames and anguished screams. Lukky’s parents rushed to their daughters to find their youngest one crying in pain. Bandaging the little girl and comforting her the family rushed to make a seat for her in the big basked used for harvesting. Rocked gently in this make shift ambulance her parents carried her for three and a half hours down to the Rajbash hospital where Dr. Uddav and our nursing staff  were able to disinfect and properly treat Lukky’s burns. Relieved and grateful to know their daughter safe they were on the long journey home the same afternoon.

This just in:  We just got word that we finally received the long awaited government certification as the official birthing center in the Kavre district. This is good news for all pregnant women in the area, as it is a further step toward better infant and maternal health and the reduction of infant mortality. Under the agreement the government will provide cash incentives to pregnant women for coming in for regular pre- and post natal care (4 visits at 100 rupees ea. = 400 = $4) plus a 1000 rupee ($10) gift at the baby’s birth. In turn we are required to track each woman and provide monthly reports on her and the child’s condition. While we had hoped the incentives to be more substantial, we are thrilled that our efforts are being given the importance they deserve.

As a result of efforts over the past months, the hospital now enjoys a wider acceptance by the government and by the locals. Its responsibilities have increased as has the recognition of the importance of its place in the community.

To read more about the work of the DCWC go to ‘globalgiving.org’. In the box ‘I am interested in ...’ write DCWC and click return. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lukky being treated for extensive burns
Lukky being treated for extensive burns
Damage to the second floor of the hospital
Damage to the second floor of the hospital
Relief distribution
Relief distribution
Our new solar panels atop the staff building
Our new solar panels atop the staff building

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