Thursday, May 14, 2015

Second Earthquake in Nepal Causes Further Suffering

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Advancing Indigenous Peoples' Rights 
and Cultures Around the World, since 1972. 

Together, we can help Indigenous Communities

Thank you to everyone who has helped us raise $6,130 for our Indigenous partners in Nepal. Cultural Survival has already begun distributing funds to Indigenous communities in Nepal as they start to rebuild, but there is still much more that needs to be done. 

Less than three weeks after thousands died in a massive earthquake, Nepal got hit again by another powerful tremor. This week's 7.3-magnitude earthquake killed at least 65 people in Nepal and 17 people in India, injured thousands, and brought down buildings weakened by the first quake. The latest developments only add to the devastation of a region struggling to meet the basic needs of its residents. 

The 7.6-magnitude earthquake on April 25 caused a death toll of over 10,000 people, with over 30,000 injured. Hundreds of thousands of homes were destroyed. In addition to the lack of shelter, many areas have no electricity or clean drinking water. The United Nations estimates that the earthquakes have affected approximately 8 million people, of whom 1.4 million have been directly affected. We are especially concerned about the relief efforts reaching the Indigenous Peoples of Nepal who make up 40 percent of the national population. Even though they constitute a significant proportion of the population, throughout the history of Nepal Indigenous Peoples have been marginalized in terms of language, culture, and political and economic opportunities and are likely to face marginalization in the long term recovery efforts.

Our community radio partner Dev Kumar Sunuwar reports that the second earthquake caused heavy damage in his district and the adjoining districts-Ramechhap, Solukhumbu, Okhaldhunga and Dolakha.  He writes, "In Ramechhap, (where my house/village and radios are located in) no single house left, all turned into rubble.  My communities are sheltering in the open sky. I personally lost not only homes, but 2 community radios-Radio Kairan 96.4 Mhz and Radio Likhu, the only means of communication and information to the communities living in the areas." The buildings of both radio stations collapsed, and computers and other equipment were destroyed.  A transmitter was saved, but rebuilding the stations will be an arduous process.

Dev produced a short documentary that describes how the earthquakes have affected people in the Ramechhap districts.  Locals report that no government officials have come to survey the damage, and relief packages have not reached the villages located far from district headquarters. In the Ramechhap districts, 80% of homes were destroyed, along with hospitals and schools. As strong aftershocks continue, Nepalis brace themselves for more seismic activity in the weeks to come. The rainy season begins in June, and monsoons could lead to more landslides and floods. 

Any donation you can make will help our Nepali friends get back on their feet a little sooner. Please help give Indigenous Peoples in Nepal hope for a brighter future.

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