The devastation from the April 25th earthquake has severely impacted the many small agricultural villages scattered across the hillsides to the north of Kathmandu. The people in these tiny communities have been hit very hard. However, because these communities are so small and numerous, government and NGO recovery and support programs tend to overlook them.
These tiny agricultural communities are now facing a particularly difficult situation. Many homes have been totally destroyed or severely damaged. Many people were killed by the earthquake and many more were injured. These communities rely on a successful annual rice crop to survive. The monsoon season is approaching fast and yet many people have no suitable shelter from the coming drenching rains. Their problems are further compounded by the need to invest time and what little money they have into repairing or rebuilding homes. But this is the time of year when these people should be investing all their time into preparing their terraced fields for the monsoon rains and planting their next rice crop.
At Langtang Ri we receive information and requests for assistance from many remote and badly affected rural communities. We have been doing everything we can as a “company team” to respond to these calls. One such community is Kot Gaun just 13km north west of Kathmandu.
But even through it is close to Kathmandu the people here had received virtually no recovery assistance since the earthquake. Kot Gaun is located west of Tin Piple and just a little off one of the main roads leading out of Kathmandu, but even this small decree of isolation was enough for the community to be overlooked.
Since the earthquake the Langtang Ri team has adopted the motto “rebuilding together” and we have been working together as a little brigade to assist wherever we saw need. Just a few days ago we were told of the plight of Kot Gaun and the fact that 25 of its 29 homes were either totally destroyed or severely damaged. Unfortunately the April 25th earthquake also claimed the life of one person and two others were badly injured.
On May 11th the Langtang Ri team responded by loading a truck with building materials, particularly steel roofing sheets, and heading to Kot Gaun on a “rebuilding together” initiative. On May 12th we started work with the local people to construct a temporary shelter that will at least provide protection from the monsoon rains. The additional benefit is that the provision of this shelter allows many people to now direct their attention back to preparing for their next all-important rice crop.
However, late on May 12th yet another earthquake of 7.4 magnitude hit just as we were all working on a shelter for a single lady. Fortunately our new shelter was not damaged and no one was injured, however we did hear of another previously damaged home now totally collapsing.
While the Langtang Ri team was able to make a real difference for the people of Kot Gaun there are just so many more tiny communities like this that also need assistance.
I would like to express my deep thanks and appreciation to every one of the Langtang Ri team that pitched in and made such a fantastic effort to assist the people of Kot Gaun. I hope we can repeat this initiative again very soon. Thank you all.