Parvait and her parents went to their home district of Gorkha, which was the epicenter of the earthquake. As you can see by these pictures there is a tremendous amount of damage to not only homes, but schools, shops, and businesses. On this initial visit they distributed over two tons of food and soap to a few of the more remote villages. She also had a few tents and medicine to distribute from Action for Child Rights International.
This was also a fact finding assessment visit to determine what kind of support the villages are getting from the various branches of government (a little from the local VDC, nothing from central), INGO’s - many are on the ground in Gorkha, but only distributing from the main road! The majority of those in need are not located on the main road, but are several kilometers away or are too old or young to travel to meet the aid on the road. Parvati was able to get 4 tents and blankets from Save the Children to bring into the remoter villages, but this is not enough. The report is basically survival of the fittest.
Many communities are coming together to manage the relief supplies in a fair way, but it is also understandable that people put their own families first and there will always be those who just use the system for their own benefit i.e. take and hoard when they do not need or sell on the black market.
Because the situation is so dire and people are so desperate, aid distribution can be dangerous as people attack the vehicles carrying supplies. This was true even for Parvati and her family who are from this area. People were aggressive until they realized the donations were to be distributed by the community to the community not from anyone else.
We have been advised on these simple things: - Remember these are desperate people so we do not take it personally.
· Do not go in as an organization – expectations too high, communities already angry over neglect and if an organization arrives and all needs not met there could be trouble.
· If sending a representative, have them say they are a relative of someone in the community. This is for their safety.
· Provide for whole community NOT just the people you know. This is for both fairness as everyone is in need and safety.
· If possible have police protection.
Based on her findings and her discussions with the locals on their need to share the aid of the big INGOs and VDC with those unable to reach the road and to establish fair distribution methods based on the number of family members, Parvati has determined that the next distribution should be in ten to fourteen days. She thinks that the aid agencies will have moved on by then. Since, she has family and friends on the ground she is able to monitor the situation closely. Also based on her findings the items to be distributed will be adjusted to post-quake needs i.e. kerosene for lamps as electricity will not be restored for a long time in these areas.