May 14, 2015
Yesterday, we received word from the Sadhana Shrestha, the executive director of Tewa, the women’s fund in Nepal that UUSC is partnering with to deliver aid to displaced women in the wake of the April 25 earthquake. On Tuesday, Shrestha had been traveling with some of her team members on a relief mission to a very remote village — Buntang, in the severely affected district of Nuwakot, a seven-hour drive from Kathmandu — when they experienced a 7.3-magnitude earthquake. Here is her account, with minor edits for length and style:
“The road was very precarious with landslides due to the heavy rains of the night earlier. We were going to distribute relief items and cash support to 90 households in the village that had collapsed. These were Tamang women, an indigenous group, mostly illiterate, and no other group had reached there since it was so far.
“Half an hour away from the village we felt the tremor, and suddenly we saw dusts of houses collapsing, falling, and villagers out on the road. We were awestruck and couldn’t decide what to do. Finally all of us continued to the village, where the women were all waiting for us, in spite of big rocks and landslides. They had nothing, and the houses that were cracked in the earlier quake had fallen due to the one just a half hour before. Our hearts were in our mouths, but seeing the faces of the resilient women smiling in spite of all odds and saying they would buy tin sheets out of the money we gave so they could have roofs — I was amazed!
“Yesterday’s quake has left us all shaken — emotionally, physically, mentally, psychologically. We are back to sleeping in camps and cars outside in public spaces, and we wish there were no tremors or rain, which will aggravate this dire condition. But Tewa’s team is very active, and we are doing all we can, mobilizing more than 100 staff, volunteers, members, friends, and family, and reaching out to communities hit hardest by the earthquake.”
We are so happy to hear that the Tewa team is safe and that they were able to deliver much-needed supplies to the women of Buntang. We look forward to continuing our work with them and helping make sure no one is left behind in the relief efforts.
If you would like to support this and other UUSC-affiliated recovery work in Nepal, please donate to the UUSC-UUA Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund at uusc.org/nepal-fund. Thank you to many generous supporters, who have have already donated more than $205,000.