Yesterday, Phakchok Rinpoche together with a team of monks and volunteers travelled to 6 villages in the Sunkhani area in Sindhupalchowk.
Lama Choying Loyang reported this morning and recounted their trip with tears in his eyes. He told us that sadly, they were the first people to deliver relief directly to these villages even though it has been more than a fortnight since the earthquake struck. Other teams of relief workers had delivered aid to the larger villages below, but had yet to make it up to these smaller villages. Most of the traditional village houses have been flattened to the ground and the few that remain standing are too unstable to inhabit. The local people are sleeping in their farm sheds for lack of any other shelter.
These 6 villages are extremely poor. They told Rinpoche that 8 people were killed during the earthquake. Fortunately, the Canadian army had already reached them with medical assistance, but our team was the first to give them food supplies and tarps for shelters.
It becomes more and more clear as the days go by that tragically there are still many small villages like this who are yet to receive any direct aid. Without this first and basic step of providing the basics for survival – food, temporary shelter, and the information and reassurance given by the relief teams – how can these villages even begin to think about rebuilding their lives?