Mission for Delivering Relief Measures to Displaced People of Saptakoshi River
As we know that our country is in deep sorrow because more than 50,000 people have been rendered homeless and several have gone missing since the Saptakoshi River damaged two dam spurs and flooded human settlements in Sunsari. The victims are prayerful for the help. Similarly, floods and landslides triggered by torrential monsoon rainfall in the last two days have killed over 60 people and around 50,000 people are displaced in far-western districts.
Due to Saptakoshi River damaged, the number of people being displaced by the flood has crossed 50,000. According to the latest report, death toll rises in flood displaced camps. Five more persons who were displaced by the Koshi floods died while undergoing treatment from a serious bout of diarrhea in hospitals in flood hit Sunsari and Saptari district Saturday. With this, the death toll in the aftermath of the floods has reached 16. Similarly, hundreds of flood victims housed in 20 government-run camps of Sunsari are suffering from diseases like diarrhea, pneumonia, typhoid and cold. However, the government is running medical centers in the camps to keep a check on the deteriorating health and sanitation condition of the flood displaced. In the meantime, the government is planning to shift the Koshi flood displaced, who are taking shelter in 20 government run camps of Sunsari, to new shelters.
In this context regarding the relief work for Koshi displaced people, K and K College decided to act for collecting relief measures (cash, food articles, medicines, clothes and other essential items) from K and K College and some networking organizations. Similarly, we decided to spread the information massively through email for collecting the relief measures so that we would be able to collect maximum relief materials for the flood affected people. MARD 2nd Year lead “K and K Flood Relief Committee” was set up under the chairmanship of Mr Suman Prasad Shrestha, Principal of K and K College along with 15 Relief Committee Members.
- Suman Prasad Shrestha, Principal of K and K International College, Chairman
- Khem Bhattarai, K and K International College, Coordinator
- Kiran Chalise, MARD 2nd Year, K and K Int. College, Joint Coordinator
- Surya Rana, MARD 2nd Year, K and K Int. College, Team Leader
- Astha Rijal, MARD 2nd Year, K and K Int. College, Member
- Krishna Nepal, MARD 2nd Year, K and K Int. College, Member
- Samrat Khadka, MARD 1st Year, K and K Int. College, Member
- Gita Giri, , MARD 1st Year, K and K Int. College, Member
- Sujan Raj K.C, BARD, K and K Int. College, Member
- Neeru Maharjan, BARD, K and K Int. College, Member
- Saroj Giree, BA in Social Work, K and K Int. College, Member
- Elina Khadka, BA in Social Work, K and K Int. College, Member
- Rusma Subedi, BA in Social Work, K and K Int. College, Member
- Surendra Rai, + 2, K and K College, Member
- Srijana Adhikari, +2 , K and K College, Member
After that K and K Flood Relief Committee decided to visit the inundated area of Sunsari district on September 6, 2008. For that ten members’ “K and K Flood Relief Task Force” was set to manage the task effectively. However, 13 members comprising 3 doctors, 2 nurses and 1 journalist task force left Kathmandu on September 5, 2008 and we were expected to be there at the affected area on September 6, 2008 (Morning).
Systemized Our Planning for the visit
- Kathmandu to Udayapur, Rampur, Thoksila on the Bus
- Ramput to Mainamaini by tractor
- In boat for half an hour to cross the Saptakoshi River up to Chatara
- From Chatara to nearby Inaruwa (Displaced people area) on Van or taxi for one hour
(This was the main risk area, more challenging and adventurous for us and we prioritized it as our main route to be there in the destination)
Plan B: If the river flow level increased and not possible to cross the river then we would manage to go to Saptari where 1500 to 2000 people were waiting for the help but the report says that most of them are Indian. We did not use this route.
To visit the affected area and distribute the relief materials to the displaced people, we formed the K & K Relief Task Force.
Task Force (13 Members)
- Kiran Chalise, Joint Coordinator MARD 2nd Year, K and K Int. College
- Khem Raj Bhattarai, Teacher, K and K Int. College
- Surya Rana, Team Leader, MARD 2nd Year, K and K Int.College
- Dil Bahadur Pun, Member, MARD 2nd Year, K and K Int. College
- Purushottam Niraula, Member, MARD 2nd Year, K and K Int. College
- Sarooj Giree, Member, BA in Social Work, K and K Int. College
- Saroj Rana, Member, Teacher, K and K Int. College
- Dr. Ananta Pandit (Teaching Hospital, Maharajgunj)
- Dr. Shankar Owasthi (Teaching Hospital, Maharajgunj)
- Dr. Dipak Rana (Teaching Hospital, Maharajgunj)
- Diya Bhandari (OM Hospital)
- Ayusha Shrestha (Binayak Nushing Home)
- Sabitra Kharel (CJMC)
Description of our Visit:
The thirteen members of task force marched to deliver relief materials to affected people from K & K College Kathmandu. There were five students, two teachers, three doctors, two nurses and one journalist.
The purposes of visit were to;
- Deliver the relief material physically to the flood affected people
- Set a medical camp to know about health condition of the displaced people and distribute the medicine as per medical check up
- Learn about disaster management and its implications on social, cultural, and economic aspects
- Know how the natural disaster affects the sustainable development
- Convey the message for the social harmony and national integrity in the context of state building
- Make a documentary of our tour
On September 5, 2008 at 18:45, we left Kathmandu. On reserve bus, we reached Thoksila nearby Rampur at 10: 15 on the next day morning. In this period we had stuck in different places between Phattepur to nearby Rampur due to the bad condition of the road. There was no food available on the routes only biscuits, few instant noodles and local brews. We picked up guavas from the tree to fulfil our hunger.
From 10:45 to 12:45 we stuck in the Bandeli Community Forest, Thoksila and we couldn’t go ahead from that place. So, we hired a local tractor and unloaded the relief materials (around fifty sacks and cartoons) from the bus and loaded these in the tractor. Only three guys could seat in the tractor so rest of the team members started to walk from there to reach Rampur though the day was very hot and everyone was hungry. At 14:15 we reached Rampur Bazzar by crossing many small rivers, forest and small settlements. This was really a great challenge that our team faced.
We took our lunch at Rampur and our local coordinator Umesh KC arranged another tractor for the rest team members. We moved to Minamaini for crossing the Saptakoshi River with lots of bumping. At 18:30 we reached there but we couldn’t catch the boat. So, we decided to stay there to have our nap. We stored all goods in a house. For this the local leader Dhan Bdr Rai helped us a lot. There are no electricity and good accommodations at Mainamaini so that we spent our night in the wooden floor without mattress, pillow and blanket. This was quite new experience for all of us.
At 4:00 o’ clock in the morning of 7th September, we waked up and washed our faces and headed towards the house where our relief goods were kept. The local boys helped us to load and unload the goods in the boat from the stored house. They also helped us to cross the small Island between the rivers with carrying the goods but they charged us massively. In the Saptakoshi River the wave are raising and falling and hitting the bank it increased our excitement but some of our friends were afraid with these waves and flow of the water.
We reserved a Van in Chatara Ghat and loaded our relief materials in the Van. With facing many new challenges and experiences we reached CDO Office Inaruwa at 12:00. We met CDO Durga Bhandary, District Administration Officer (DAO) Umesh Pandey, Local Development Officer Guru Prasad Subedi and District Health Officer Israili Mansoori. We also registered our relief materials in CDO Office and they gave us a receipt. The CDO and LDO were saying that we were the first private institutional team from Kathmandu with massive relief materials using the most challenging route to distribute the relief materials with medical team. The CDO, LDO and DAO were astounded and impressed with our initiatives and guts.
The main affected places
- West Kusaha
- Shripur which is more affected than other areas
- Bhanta Bari
- Koshi Tappu
- Jamuha Nahar
- Red Cross, UNICEF and UN are performing their task effectively.
- Delivering relief materials are challenging for government and they are coordinating with various NGOs, Institutions,local organizations etc.
- Most of the relief materials come from Helicopter and aeroplane because accessibility by road is very difficult.
- Among the displaced people around 15,000 are from India.
- Around 3,000 displaced people are from the hilly region.
- Around 19,000 are Madheshi People
- There are 29 Camps where affected people are kept.
- Most of the organisations transfer the cash to help the affected people
- The various local organisations like Madwari Sewa Samiti, Local Civil Societies etc feeding the victims from 15 days and now it is stopped from three days (when we are there) and the local government is taking responsibility of this to continue.
- Government people are very friendly and coordinating well with the various organisations.
- Affected people do not accept the old clothes because some people are rich and their children are working overseas.
- Most of the relief materials collected are dumped in the CDO Office.
- Women and children are severely affected by cold, headache, earache, eyes infection, dehydration etc.
- Inadequate food supply.
- If there is supply of food there is no fuel for cooking. They are using dry grass to cook their meals. So government or other organization should consider on this matter.
- In Ramdan, Muslim Festivals there are no fruits and other basic necessary so they are fed up properly.
- Enough toilets and water pumps are available at camp areas.
- There were Indian trucks for delivering rice, pulse etc to affected people
- A Muslim Institution are distributing money and setting health camp there. At the same time, government Health service is distributing medicines to the affected people.
First Day in Inaruwa (7th Sep 2008)
District Health Office gave us the Jamai Islamic Madarasa, Ghokara to distribute the relief materials. We started to deliver the relief materials household-wise seeing their Rasan Card at 15:00 with the help of Security officers and some displaced people. We succeeded to distribute all the clothes personally that we brought because of our systematic approach and hospitality. We did manage the same thing for towel and food stuffs but at last suddenly the crowd of displaced people increased and tried to grab the things from our hand and most of the children and women were injured so we stopped it and returned back to Kusaha to see the flood. We captured the scene in our camera and spoke with local people, and returned back to CDO office and handed over the soaps, remaining towels and food to the Administrative Officer. From Inaruwa we went to Itahari to have a good sleep because we were dreadfully tired as we hadn’t slept and didn’t get chance to eat good food from two days.
What we found that government officials were very friendly, corporative and they welcomed us with warm greetings. They arranged fuel for local vehicle arranged by us and security officers to make our work easy and meaningful. They also gave the instruction to the driver to book the hotel at reasonable price in Itahari.
Second Day in Inaruwa (8th September)
We waked up at 5:00 in the morning in Itahari and prepared and discussed within ourselves for health camp. At 08:00 government vehicle came and picked up us and headed towards the Jamai Islamic Madarasa, Ghokara. We started our health camp with three doctors and two nurses with systematic approach and way. We checked three hundred to four hundred affected people and distributed the medicines as necessary. There big crowd and difficult to control but maintained it by providing tokens.
We took interview with people in the camp and took their views on the service delivered by different organizations including government. We had also provided health service unknowingly to outsiders as well. We asked the community people to stop them. We ended our programme at 14:00 and came back to CDO Office to thank CDO for his cordial support. We took our lunch there and Government vehicle dropped us in Dharan.
In Dharan, We booked a hotel and some of our friends went for sight seeing. It was almost 8 PM, so we took dinner and went to have our sweet nap. Next morning at 5:00 AM we waked up and went to catch a bus to Chatara Ghat. The bus dropped us in Chatara Ghat and we used boat to cross Saptakoshi River. When we crossed the river, we walked for around 4 hours destine to Rampur. In Rampur we took lunch at 12:30PM and booked a ticket for Kathmandu. At 1:15 PM on September 9, 2008, we left Rampur and we travelled around 23 hours (due to Lahan Banda and our vehicle problem) to come to Kathmandu. We arrived in Kathmandu on September 10, 2008 at around 12:30 PM.
- For each and every deal, we had to discuss with other party twice or thrice and finally we would have to settle for additional charge.
- Most of the community member including the labours and drivers intentionally tried their best to cheat us. We had to be alert during our whole tour.
- We slept in open place on wooden floor without mattress, blanket, pillow etc. It was a house built with logs only.There were no walls and there was a possibility to fall down. There was also personal risk anything could have happened at anytime so some of our team members were alert throughout the night.
- Crossing the Saptakoshi River with one tractor stuffs within 15 to 20 minutes walk at Bhanlgalo (Small Island) was itself so challenging.
- Raising transportation cost.
- Maintaining proper coordination with doctor and nurse team along with student team was challenging.
- Tractor journey with 100 sacks of goods for 2 and half hours.
- 4 hours of walk without enough food in rough road and crossing small rivers seemed highly challenging.
- Settlement of vested interest people queries and aspirations.
- Management to deliver our relief services at displaced area.
- Management to set medical camp with small quantity and varity of medicines during their religious occasion.
- Open toilets itself is a challenge for us.
- Good coordination and team spirit is needed to achieve the destine goal
- Patience and guts are needed when you are travelling for social cause
- We should be alert for any consequences and should make the contingency planning before hand.
- Your good approach and hospitality helps to adjust in the community that help you to meet your desired goal.
- When you are going for social cause you should be mentally prepared for any circumstances. You better forget your professionalism rather consider socialism.
- Consulting some active members, quick decision should be made to minimize the risks and challenges.
- We cannot compare the cost for Humanitarian Assistant and Human Health.
- Delivery items should deliver in attractive ways (good and attractive packaging, systematic distribution, focusing more on women, children, old people etc)
- Should be aware of social and cultural values of the client.
- Small help shows the big impact some times (sharing sympathy, feeling of unity, love, kindness are above all other satisfactions. )
We managed to collect:
1. Cash small volume
2. Food Stuff and Medicines
5. Other Essentials like towels and soaps
Some Prominent Supporters:
1. Sunrise Bank LTD.
2. DFID Nepal Individual Staff
3. Jagaran Nepal
4. K and K College
7. CARE Nepal
8. Individual Staff from Rural Access Programme
10. Srijanshil Cooperative
12. Choudhary Group
1. Naya Patrika
2. Metro FM
3. ABC FM
4. CJMC FM
5. Avenues TV
Some Individual Contributors:
1. Biswo Ulak, APPSP
2. Binod Shrestha, LFP
3. Ratna Tamang, UNMIN
4. Puran Budhathoki
5. K and K College Students