Nepal: Emergency Assistance to Earthquake Survivors - One Month After - Refugee Life in a Mountain Village

A space to spend nights together as a family

The AAR Japan emergency response team’s activities continue in the village of Tasarpu, in the mountainous Dhading District.  From May 9th to 21st, the team has been distributing food rations and household utensils to the 1,299 family units in the village.  The food rations include rice, dahl beans, salt, cooking oil, masala, and turmeric.  The household utensils include tent materials (a 3.6x5.5m tarpaulin, 30m of rope to build the tent with, floor mats, mosquito net, blankets, feminine sanitary napkins, and buckets.

After distribution of the relief items was complete, the team revisited each ward of Tasarpu Village and saw that inhabitants of the area are making full use of the tent materials, and families now have a place where they can spend the nights together.  Directly following the disaster, Suun Maya Tamang, a resident of Tasarpu village’s 4th ward, was able to procure no more than a small vinyl sheet she found, so she and her family had to sleep in various different refugee tents.  With only 5kg of government supplied rice and no other aid in sight, Suun says she was at her wit’s end. With the materials she received from AAR Japan, her family of 10 can now live out of one tent.  “Up in the mountains the days are hot and the nights grow very cold, so I am very thankful for the support we received from AAR Japan.  The blankets are especially important for us”, she said.
Suun and her daughter, standing before the tent they built with the relief items from AAR Japan. (Tasarpu Village, Dhading District, May 27th, 2015)
A tent built of materials from AAR Japan.  Villagers were delighted to finally being able to live together with their families. (Tasarpu Village, Dhading District, May 27th, 2015)

Celebrating a grandchild’s healthy growth in the midst of disaster

Tasarpu is a village located high in the mountains, and consists of scattered communities of 10 to 50 family units each.  7th Ward, known as Jureton, is located at the mountain summit, and there are 40 family units living there.  Jureton resident Jit Bahadul Tamang was bedridden with a high fever at the time of the earthquake, so he was completely unable to move.  He tearfully told us how it was his daughter who saved him, and without her he wouldn’t be here today. 

Jit and his family were forced to flee for their lives while their home collapsed around them, and they were unable to bring any food or necessities with them.  Despite becoming refugees, Jit explained how it was very important that his family celebrate “Pasni” for his granddaughter, a Nepali tradition celebrating the growth of babies.  Pasni, or the “Weaning Festival”, is an event that celebrates babies reaching their 6th month.  SaLe Roti, a dish made from rice, is an essential part of the celebration.  The Jit family happily reported, “Thanks to the rice we received from AAR Japan, we were able to celebrate Pasni.” 

AAR Japan’s Chiaki FURUKAWA (right) listens to stories of 7th ward residents (Tasarpu Village, Dhading District, May 27th, 2015)
Mr. Jit tearfully remembers the events of the earthquake (7th Ward, Tasarpu Village, Dhading District, May 27th, 2015)

Mr. Jit’s 6 month-old grandchild Jinrin (pictured in the center) and his family (7th Ward, Tasarpu Village, Dhading District, May 27th, 2015)

Thanks to the relief efforts of AAR Japan, the family was able to make the rice dish for Jinrin’s celebration for reaching 6 months-old. (7th Ward, Tasarpu Village, Dhading District, May 27th, 2015)
*This project has been supported by the generous donations made to AAR Japan and grants from Japan Platform (JPF).

Please click here for online donation through Paypal
Please click here for online donation via credit card and through convenience stores. (in Japanese)

Donating at the Japan Post Office
Account Number: 00100-9-600
Account Name: Nanmin wo Tasukerukai (難民を助ける会)
Please write down “Nepal” and specify if you need a receipt.

Latest news is available through Twitter and our mail magazine.
AAR Account:(@aarjapan) http://twitter.com/aarjapan
AAR Mail Magazine: Click here for registration. (only in Japanese)

Chiaki FURUKAWA, AAR Japan Tokyo Headquarters
After graduation from university, FURUKAWA worked for a recruitment agency before attending graduate school in the UK for international development studies.  She joined AAR upon return to Japan, where she was assigned to work in Haiti beginning in October 2010.  She returned to Japan in January 2012 and handled Afghanistan and Myanmar affairs via the Tokyo Office.  She engaged in emergency relief efforts in 2013 responding to the typhoon in the Philippines. (From Osaka) (profile as the time of the article)
Japanese-English translation by Cameron Lombardo

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.