After the first earthquake that hit Nepal, me and a few friends have been going to different places to try and collect data about the damage caused in various parts of the country. We try to focus our trips to those places that have not been covered by the media. On our last trip we found a place that is currently facing a shortage of food supplies. The following is the field report I made.
Village 2: Ti gaun
Location: Ward 6, Belkot VDC, Nuwakot district
Number of houses: 178 (Approx)
Damage: 90% or more (Approx. and according to the locals)
Injured and in need of medical assistance: 2 Government relief materials: none
Other relief: Tarp tents provided by an NGO to all villagers
Immediate requirement: Food
Secondary requirement: Seeds (rice and corn) for plantation
Solution: We can help the village by providing them food (rice, dal, soyabean oil, salt, dried foods).
Welcome to the community! Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Could you tell us about the places you have visited so far? How long have you been working in the Earthquake Stricken Places?
Food and seeds: questions
Hi and welcome to the community. Thank you for taking the time to share this information. Two questions:
Do you have any idea how many people are in need of food in this village and the quantity required/day?
Do you have any idea how long it takes to grow the needed amount of rice and corn from the seeds?
Depends on the variety of seed/altitude/soil/labor
@Nadia, my father works in the agriculture field and I did a quick phone call with him. It seems like the sowing/harvesting time depends on the variety of the seed (type of rice and corn), altitude of the place, and other things. I am sure the farmers in the village have a better local understanding of the agriculture cycle. But according to my father, it is already a bit late for the corn to be sown (unless you have the ones that require less time to grow). For rice, there is still almost 1.5 months left - usually sown during the month of Asar (June/July). But if there have been loss of family members due to the earthquake, I think that could cause a bigger blow to the families who depend on relatives to become part of the agriculture labor.
I just realized that it will be better if there was way to bring them together (the farmers and the young people) and channelize some of their resourcefulness into thinking about this situation - I have a strong feeling that they will have solutions.
@A_Bee, I think that choosing to think about what may be the priority and assessing the situation will have definitely saved your relief team a lot of time because now, you have a better understanding of their needs. Are you in Kathmandu right now? or on-site? Because, like @Matthias mentioned, the next time right now is definitely coordinating relief efforts.
Agriculture university students from the area
I wonder do you think it could be feasible for young people from the cities in Nepal to physically help with some of the labour tasks that the farmers are not managing due to loss of family members? Maybe students in Agriculture - I saw Bunker Roy do a talk about Barefoot college recently, maybe you heard of it- perhaps the students could be engaged in building a barefoot college using the experiences from doing the hands on work helping the farmers to develop a program? Just an idea
Great idea! In touch with the experts.
I think it is a great idea. My friend (whom I have invited to join the community) has worked with the farmers in Dhulikhel. He owns a farm there himself. A few weeks back he was telling me how the farmers have lost everything. Though there weren’t any human casualties, they’ve lost basic agricultural requirements, especially stored seeds. They have to start working from clearing the fields, making it reading for crops and then finding the seeds, all before monsoon. Your idea of involving the students sounds good. I am going to throw in the idea to him as well. Meanwhile, it would be wonderful to hear from him on the matter. I will get back as soon as he joins the community. Thanks!
Hi @A_Bee, Thank you for choosing to share your experience in this platform. There are already few questions on the comment awaiting your reply. So, I just would like to know how did you and your friends initiate this step - as in, what was the thought process behind selecting assessment as a priority for you all. And, welcome to the community.
Thank you for the pleasant welcome. About the assessment being selected as a priority, we just thought we could get a clear picture of what the requirements of a particular area are if we actually went for a visit and met the locals. For instance, village A might immediately be in need of food while village B may only require medical assistance.
We’ll might be close to that soon, maybe we can collaborate?
Hey @A_Bee, welcome here. The report is short and to the point, thank you. (Did you invent that report format, or did you find it somewhere?)
Friends are sending jeeps with supplies every few days to Bhorle, Rasuwa now, and @Natalia_Skoczylas and I will join them tomorrow to go there. It seems at least here on Google Maps that Belkot VDC is on the way and close to the same road, but I know that can be misleading in Nepal. So, where is ward 6, do you have the coordinates? I hope we can coordinate something to help the people in Ti Guan.
The other question is, maybe they need “just” somebody who can get their foodstocks from the upper story of the now-unsafe houses? That’s a main problem we found in Jyamrung VDC. Did you check if maybe that’s the case here too?
Retrieval of food from top level
If the issue with getting food from upper levels crops up more often you might consider throwing in a bunch of cordage (three different diameters) into the back of some vehicle. This is a completely untested wild eyed idea - so please use your own brain if you attempt this! But it is perhaps better than letting the food rot under a leaky roof or having some pest get at it.
What you do is run a thin pilot line over the roof if and make sure you have something to support it with eventually (like a big tree, a very long beam, or perhaps two fixed together). Then you take the next thicker rope (should be able to carry two persons) and tie it to the end of the thin pilot line and pull that over. Lastly you do the same thing with the most heavy duty cordage you can get your hands on. Probably something like a modern fire hose will work nicely. Now you basically have an over-sized temporary clothesline installed across the roof. You should make sure it is well secured and probably have a bunch of people stand at the ready in case something goes wrong. You probably want to have some anchoring pegs with you but perhaps a tree, a jeep, or even a lot of people can do the job as well. The rest is relatively obvious, on light guy gets secured with the medium thickness rope, slides over the roof picks up the sheeting and ties it to another rope that is thrown over the heavy duty one, and is operated by a team of people on the ground. They lower first the sheeting and then the stores carefully to the ground next to the house, while they keep an eye and ear on the structure.
In the following image I could see this being used effectively. You could tie some bamboo to the tree to get higher, perhaps build a Y-fork. If you have a lot of rope you have good chances of finding a high enough tree on the other side.
Of course it won’t work always and everywhere, but having extra cordage in your jeep in a place like Nepal is usually not a bad idea. You could bring extra pilot lines so people can prep several sites at once and you can get to the next place faster. Dental floss is typically 50m long, pretty strong and weighs nothing. Of course fishing line will work as well.
The report format is just a list of things the villagers told me. I couldn’t be too sure about the road because I have only been there once and we walked ten minutes up a hill from the main highway leading to Belkot from Madanpur with the help of a local. About the food, from what the locals told me the food got buried in the rubble. I do apologize for the unavailability of a contact number which would have made this a lot easier.
One more thing
I just checked quakemap.org and did not see your report about Belkot ward #6 there. I think it’s a good idea if you add it there (and the other reports if you haven’t done so already) because it is a kind of inofficial central coordination site for the local relief initiatives now, and reaches more people who can help practically than here.
I think quakemap.org is made by Kathmandu Living Labs, maybe you know them?
I am not acquainted with Kathmandu living labs. I did post a report about Ti gaun on quake map. Maybe they haven’t verified the information yet. I’m not sure though.
KLL and Quakemap is the same thing - one redirects to the other. I had a similar confusion in the beginning. I think the website does a great job of documenting these submissions, but their Facebook page (HERE) is where most of the action is: people leave behind a post, and then people start commenting and sharing and eventually (hopefully soon) there will be people offering to help. So I think it would be a great idea to also submit a post in this page.
@A_Bee, I wish you all the best!