Friendship for Terai
By Dorje Wangchuck
August 25, 2017
Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about my friends in the Terai region of Nepal. It has been more than a week now that Terai along with many districts of India and Bangladesh have been swept away by this flood. Reports state that millions of people displaced and more than hundreds were killed. In South Asia, the heartbreaking news were all over social media.
The Thrive Nepal team knew immediately that we had the resources to help out our friends in Sarlahi, a district to begin with. In the span of a day, we planned our transportation from Kathmandu to Terai and started collecting all necessary relief resources.
As I am writing this post, it is 4:48PM Monday, 21 August, 2017, and I’m back to office at Boudha after three day trip to Sarlahi District of Terai. The day before the trip, the office was full of solar energy systems, mattresses and a bit of stress about our upcoming journey. Now, I’m back in the office and I see nothing around me except chairs and a table. It gives me immense pleasure to be back in an empty office full of stories from Terai.
Flooded Terai only came into our view on the second day of our trip. On day one, Thrive Nepal drove to Hariban, Sarlahi with Muskan Prasai from Global Peace Young Leaders and with all possible supplies and donations that we could gather to buy needed materials at Sarlahi for flood victims. Our Jeep set off from Balkhau at 7AM. Winding through the muddy roads of Pharping, a bulldozer was clearing a landslide after Chaimaley. The foggy weather with landslide did made our prediction come true about the journey but suddenly after Sisinery, the road was unexpectedly clear and no obstructions at all. Passing through Hetauda – beginning of inner Terai – in very normal weather circumstances made us question ourselves that is it how it’s supposed to be? Our eyes were going crazy for not seeing such scenes that were shown in the media.
Gradually, the jeep started to pass by bridges and we stared seeing huge trees under bridges. No water at all but huge trees was dragged under bridges. Similar scenes repeated in other bridges too. We couldn’t even drive pass in one of the bridge. It was broken by flood. That’s what flood did to the forest and wildlife but the effect on human was yet to see and hear.
On day two, we drove from Harioan to Harkatauwa for 2.5 hrs towards border with a jeep loaded with solar systems, mattresses, sacks of rice, hygiene kits and water purifiers. Reaching Area Police Post Office, Harkatauwa, we saw hundreds of flood victims waiting to receive tarpaulins, food and anything. Army joined police to control the crowd.
Leaving the jeep inside the area of Post Office, we took a tour to the villages. We managed to visit 2 villages, the first on the outer section of river and second on inner section. The water level at river was barely a foot deep but it was the toughest job of the day. One of our team members was needed to be carried on back. Immediately, we learnt that water level was more than 5 feet in the morning of 13th August, 2017. It froze us. Everyone had to move out of house. The houses were slowly falling off and getting banished in water. You could not see crops in the field. Livestock had to be untied and grains, cooking utensils, clothes, furniture and all became wet yet had to take higher than water level.
The water remained there for three days and gradually the level went down. What didn’t happen in three days? Lives of millions turned upside down and turn poor Madhesis into the poorest.
We reached over there after a week of the flooded day. In a way, we were expecting to see villages drowned into water and were not convinced how bad the situation was when we didn’t see it immediately upon arrival in Terai. We realized that just because there isn’t emergency drowning doesn’t mean people are not suffering. People lost everything except crops in the field which is also not going to yield good this year. Schools are shut down since the flooded day and are likely not to open for 2 next weeks. Food supplies are finishing and open defecation and bad water would spread communicable diseases like wildfire. Tarpaulins multiply the temperature and in the sunshine in Terai, people are being boiled yet no option. Their need for aid is very urgent. People should have good water, enough food, toilets and shaded place to live. It needs to happen as soon as possible.
My friends in Terai are in pain at this moment while my other friends around the globe are working hard to earn better life. While earning better life for self, please have a bit of thought of those who lost it. Terai is in pain but not the whole world. My friends around the globe please help us to help my friends in Terai at this point. Big or small, every single penny values and work will be transparent.
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