Nepal: Emergency Assistance to Earthquake Survivors- Seeking Food in the Ruins and the Difficult Conditions in the Affected Mountain Region

AAR Japan’s emergency assistance team (Noriyasu OKAYAMA and Fukurou KAKIZAWA) have actively worked on site in Nepal since April 29th to assist the victims of the powerful earthquake that struck the country on April 25th of this year. On May 3rd, Chiaki FURUKAWA and Natsuki MATSUMOTO joined the AAR Japan team, bringing the organization’s operation to four staff members.

On May 5th, we visited Tasarpu Village in the Dhading District in the western mountainous area of Kathmandu for assessment. Here are updates of the situation on the ground.

Most of the villages in the mountain are destroyed and are reduced to rubble 

The emergency assistance team assessed Tasarpu Village in the Dhading District on May 5th. It is located four hours away from Kathmandu, of which three hours are on steep mountain roads. Although there was serious damage to the village, including 1000 of 1200 houses partially or totally damaged, this was the first time any aid organization had reached the area. Moreover, unpaved steep footpaths were the only access to the highest area of the village. Most of the houses were completely destroyed, and the villagers were living in emergency shelters covered by tattered tarpaulin.

Villagers left under hastily-made emergency shelters covered by tattered tarpaulins (Tasarpu Village, Dhading District, May 5th, 2015).
Before distribution of food supplies, we interviewed the villagers while distributing snacks. As it is extremely difficult to reach Tasarpu Village, no emergency assistance had yet reached the village. Although rations were distributed by the village administration, they were not sufficient for the scale of the disaster. Even during the assessment, we witnessed some villagers digging through the wreckage of their former homes with their bare hands in search for food. ARR Japan also spoke with the district office, and decided to provide relief supplies to all households in Tasarpu Village. We have started to procure additional relief items. 

After a discussion with officials of the Dhading District administrative office, we decided which village to assist. Second person from the left is Noriyasu OKAYAMA from AAR Japan (Dhading Besi, Dhading District, May 5th, 2015)
Chiaki FURUKAWA (center) researching the cost of supplies in a market (Dhading Besi, Dhading District, May 5th, 2015)
Near the mountaintop of Tasarpu Village, Dhading District. Most of the households were completely destroyed (May 5th, 2015).
Chiaki FURUKAWA (left) distributing boxes of biscuits as immediate supply of food to the villagers living in Tasarpu Village (May 15th, 2015)
*This project has been supported by the generous donations made to AAR Japan and grants from Japan Platform (JPF).

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Chiaki FURUKAWA, AAR Japan Tokyo Headquarters Office
FURUKAWA worked at a human resources consultant agency, before going to the UK to obtain a master’s degree in International Development. She then joined AAR Japan, and worked in the Haiti Office from October 2010. In January 2012, she started to work in Tokyo, in charge of AAR Japan’s Afghanistan and Myanmar work. She also engaged in emergency relief operation in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan struck in 2013. She is originally from Osaka Prefecture. 
Japanese-English translation by Ms. Mae Shan
English editing by Mr. Allan Richardz

This article has been translated by volunteers as part of the AAR Japan's Volunteer Programme. Their generous contributions allow us to spread our activities and ideas globally, through an ever-growing selection of our reports from the field.