Sun, 16 Jun, 2024

Deerwalk Social Welfare Network: Providing Aid to the Survivors

By Kundan Shumsher Rana

All Photos By: Deerwalk Social Welfare Network

Deerwalk Social Welfare Network (DWSWN) is a welfare network dedicated to serve the communities in Nepal. Currently, it seeks to help the survivors of the earthquake that hit Nepal on 25th April 2015. Members of Deerwalk Inc. and Deerwalk Institute of Technology (DWIT) are involved in its current agenda of helping the earthquake survivors who are highly affected. Deerwalk Social Welfare Network also receives donations from staff and executives, and friends of the company. It solicits funds from international and national organizations on the basis of the request for proposals made by them. Using these funds, in the current context, DWSWN is making a difference in the lives of the survivors.

These are some of the things that DWSWN has done till date. This is one of the two parts of the article about the actions that DWSWN has taken to ensure that the survivors of the recent tragedy can receive the required aid and support they need.

Part I

The following are the actions taken by DWSWN from 27th April to 3rd May.

Day 1 (27th April)

[caption id="attachment_6560" align="aligncenter" width="768"]Assessing the needs of the locals Assessing the needs of the locals[/caption]

The members of DWSWN went about assessing the damage done by the quake to the buildings in the immediate neighborhood. They talked to people, provided condolences, and assured them that they would provide immediate help. So with this promise they came back to work. Their initial assessment showed that around 18 houses were badly damaged.

[caption id="attachment_6559" align="aligncenter" width="768"]day 1 _1 Sometimes, having someone with whom we can share our grief helps a lot[/caption]

They also went to the cremation area of Pashupatinath. Feeling the intensity of grief and sorrow in the aura of the place, some members talked to the people there who had lost their loved ones. After hearing their tragic stories, the members distributed some fund to those families who had lost their family member(s) to the quake. A total of NRs. 20000 was distributed.

Day 2 (28th April)

Assessment of the damaged houses was done on Day 1. 18 houses were identified for providing immediate relief, in cash, of NRs. 15000, NRs. 10000 and NRs. 5000. With this money, the families could get immediate relief for a few days till a larger plan to help these families could be set into motion.

Members also went through the city that day to see the living conditions of the people. The unmanaged and unorganized scenes inside the parliament camp were appalling.

Day 3 (29th April)

[caption id="attachment_6428" align="aligncenter" width="802"]Current lifestyle around Sankhu Lifestyle around Sankhu after the quake[/caption]

A team of students and DWIT staff decided to leave for a place called Sankhu. All of them had been hearing in the news that the place is totally destroyed. DWSWN wanted to go provide some help. Since many NGOs and INGOs were already there providing help, they decided to access the needs of the people there first. They found that the people had received ample food, water and clothing but were in desperate need of manpower. They wanted volunteers to cleat the rubble and dig out the dead bodies that were still buried till that day.

They assured the locals that they would definitely come back with some help.

Day 4 (30th April)

DWSWN members went to two different camps around Jaybageshwori and provided them free drinking water. They managed to distribute 30 jars, each jar holding 19 liters. People were delighted as they were totally taken by surprise.

[caption id="attachment_6562" align="aligncenter" width="768"]day water Providing water service to the people around JayaBageshwori[/caption]

On that day, distribution of cash to 18 households was done by Gagan Thapa. It was decided that the amount proposed to be distributed needed to be doubled. They came up with three categories based on the house damage. They were:

a) Totally damaged (Rs 30000, 4 houses)

b) Partially Damaged (Rs 20000, 9 houses)

c) House with cracks and need repair (Rs 10000, 6 houses)

 Day 5 (1st May)

Saroj Neupane, an employee of Deerwalk Inc., will be traveling to Dolakha, a place 170 KM east of Kathmandu. Being a local from that area, he made few contacts to his fellow colleagues and assessed the needs to the village. He has been given NRs.1,20,000 to purchase food items for his village from the DWSWN. Also, he has been provided with a sack of 21 Deerwalk fleece jackets and a banner reading 'Deerwalk'. Saroj has said that he will coordinate with the locals. He has been provided with necessary documents including receipts and asked to take pictures of the victims.

[caption id="attachment_6443" align="aligncenter" width="770"]Team from Deerwalk ready to head off to Kalmochan for rubble clearance Team from Deerwalk ready to head off to Kalmochan for rubble clearance[/caption]

A team from the Deerwalk headed for Kalmochan Temple. The Department of Archaeology was looking for volunteers to preserve the remains of now completely destroyed monument. The Chief of Department of Archaeology was happy to see them arrive. He told them that the police force is fully occupied with the task of taking the idols trapped inside. They were asked to neatly arrange the pieces of bricks and pile them up neatly so that they can be used for restoration process.

DWSWN members are planning to go to Sindhupalanchowk to provide relief materials. The place has been completely damaged by the earthquake. Out of 1500 houses, only 4 remain and 9 deaths have been reported. They plan to take tents and supplies as they head to the affected areas. Also, Dr. Monisha Karki, who has done several health camps in that area will also be going along with the team.

Day 6 and 7 (2nd and 3rd May)

[caption id="attachment_6563" align="aligncenter" width="768"]Susma Pant involved in relief work Susma Pant involved in relief work[/caption]

Susma Pant, an employee of Deerwalk Services and a representative of DWSWN visited Gajuri and Kumpur villages in Dhading, 85 km away from Kathmandu, and distributed a sum of NRs. 60,000 to six people who lost family members due to the earthquake. The recipients of the donation were Bhim Bahadur Shrestha (Lost wife), Kamala Tamang (Lost daughter), Rajendra Shrestha (Lost son and wife), Thuli Maya Tamang (Lost father-in-law), Subash Pariyar (Lost sister) and Ram Lal Shrestha (Lost daughter). Thirty four houses in the two villages have completely collapsed and the families are now homeless. The destruction and casualties in the neighboring villages is much more.

Some members of DWSWN visited Nuwakot Earthquake Impact Assessment. There were six of them and traveled on Motorbikes due to the harsh terrain. The places they visited were called Chauthe and Okharpauwa VDCs. The team spent considerable time meeting with local people in Thuldanda, Bhandarthumka, Dhungana Gaon, and Siudeni. The survivors there are having a hard time living under the open sky. Construction of temporary shed has become their first priority. They were also looking for food stuffs as the quantity they have will last only for two to three weeks.

The members found out that the people there have not received any relief package whatsoever. They urgently need building materials and money to pay for labor. The team felt that there could be sanitation issues. Nonetheless, villagers seemed least bothered about such thing. They wanted roof over their heads more than anything.

Some cash was distributed that day:

NRs. 10, 000 was given to one household (lost grandmother of 55 yrs and granddaughter of 3 years to the quake).

NRs. 10, 000 to one house (lost son of 22 years to the quake).

NRs. 2000 to one house that had a mentally challenged person.

NRs. 500 to an old man.

One of the members, Paul, was taken to one of the health camps held at Changu Narayan. He was also 'lucky' enough to attend the grand meeting organized by WHO, World Health Organization, around evening. Paul is currently 'camped' in a tent inside Deerwalk Complex. One of the glitches that surfaced was that he has been asked by Ministry of Health to come up with hard copy of all documents since all the data entered pertaining to their access to work as a member of relief team has gone missing. He will be escorted to Ministry of Health.