People were amazingly resilient in the first weeks, with everyone pitching in to help rescue others. But now attrition is setting in. People are exhausted. International help is beginning to help, but everything is in shambles and it’s hard to know who or where to help first.
Prime Minister Sushil Koirala told reporters what they already knew, “We need tents. Our people need shelter. With the rainy season, it will be difficult for people to survive in the open.”
Hundreds of thousands are homeless.
The constant tremors cause anxiety.
Surviving family members and children who have lost home, loved ones, and all things stable in their lives are literally living on the edge.
Delivery of food has been erratic and inadequate.
In the villages in Nepal people are still waiting to be seen by teams like Doctors Without Borders, because landslides still block roads that had just been cleared after the first earthquake. The second quake injured more than 2,300 in these rural areas and patience is wearing thin.
More waterproof shelters are desperately needed here, before the monsoon season arrives late May.
Cows, goats, and chickens wander about, many injured and exposed to the elements. Shelters need to be rebuilt to protect them from the intense summer sun and driving rain.
In Kathmandu the orthopedic hospital is relocating patients outside in tents in the courtyard of the hospital because of fear of another quake. Meanwhile the masses have been sleeping in temporary shelters since the first quake weeks ago. Injured street dogs and abandoned pets wander through these relief camps, needing food and veterinary attention.
Save the Children has started counseling children and families in trauma, while planning to provide clean water systems and toilets to avoid the very real risk of cholera. But no one knows when such sanitation programs will be in place.
In short, in Nepal there is widespread uncertainty.
What is certain is that the Four Reminders still ring true (this is the short version composed by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche):
“Joyful to have such a human birth
Difficult to find, free and well favored.
But death is real, comes without warning,
This body will be a corpse.
Unalterable are the of karma,
Cause and effect cannot be escaped.
Samsara is an ocean of suffering–
Unendurable, unbearably intense.”
The author’s preferred organization for donations is Karuna Shechen.
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Author: Linda Lewis
Editor: Renee Picard
Image: Via Punya at Wiki Commons