Fighting Hunger
Fighting Hunger

Ree VDC, North Dhading, is home to about 7000 people, living in scattered settlements among the steep hillsides. Fortunately, most of the people were out of their houses on Saturday 25 April, when the earthquake came, its epicentre very close to their villages. They were preparing their fields for the rice planting, looking for wood in the forests, cutting fodder for their animals – all the usual activities of rural subsistence farmers in Nepal.

Just as well, because most of the 1310 houses collapsed during the quake. Seventy-three people died, and more than 300 were injured. Families’ food stocks and few treasured possessions were buried in the rubble. Now they are without shelter, hungry and afraid.

Getting help to these isolated communities has been a challenge. There is no road access; walking tracks through to Dhading district headquarters are impassable, as suspension bridges are down and landslides have carried away the paths in several places. UMN’s trucks of emergency supplies left Dhading early this morning, and will reach Chimchok in neighbouring Gorkha district this afternoon, after 7 hours of difficult driving. There, they’ll meet Ree villagers who have walked for 3-4 hours to get there.

Procuring materials for relief packages has been challenging too, as there is so much demand. The 400 families will receive lentils, sugar, dry noodles, salt, spices, tea, oil and 25 kg of rice. When they are available, another 50 kg rice, tarpaulins, cooking utensils and hygiene kits will be provided.

Sorting and packing of emergency supplies would not have been possible without the help of scores of volunteers. Many are from the remote northern VDCs, but are living and working in the district headquarters. Deepak Tamang, from Lapa VDC, said: “I’ve come to volunteer so that my village can have relief support as soon as possible. They have been fighting hunger for the last 10 days.”

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