The Nepali (and South Asian) floods seem to have finally made the international news, although as I write this I realise they have probably been eclipsed by all the other devastating natural disasters that seem to be happening all over the world. Challenging times indeed and my heart goes out to all who have been affected, no matter how rich or poor, insured or not, it must be devastating to lose so much.
For the NGOs here in Nepal this coverage has meant that the funding and donations have finally started rolling in, which has helped to speed up the flood response. There are a number of challenges that exist in getting supplies through to the people that need them, that are not only financial. Organisational and infrastructure challenges also exist causing delays in the deployment of resources. It has been interesting and eye-opening to observe the differences in organisation, coverage and speed of response to disasters in the West in comparison.
Some of the stories I’ve been hearing from those who have been involved in the relief efforts have been so saddening. One of the team told me about a village that had been cut off for 10 days. They had survived by waiting on a roof of a house that remained standing and by drinking the dirty flood water. One of these villagers was a heavily pregnant woman. They were thankfully rescued and given water sanitation kits and basic food supplies to last for a short period.
So many people have lost everything they have and although the waters have subsided there are swathes of devastation left behind. Many of those who have been affected are incredibly poor and lead a hand to mouth existence. Not only have their homes been destroyed but their crops and therefore their livelihood for the whole year. It is now that the long, slow rebuilding of their lives begins and my hope is that development and government projects not only repair the damage but find new ways to minimise the level of devastation for when this happens again.