Nepal: Urgent Appeal for Support for Indigenous Peoples Affected by the Earthquake

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    28 April 2015

    A magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday has caused more than 5,000 deaths and more than 10,000 people injured, as per the country’s Emergency Operation Centre on Tuesday. The death toll is rising exponentially by the day as the government rescue efforts are reaching slowly to the areas hardest hit by the earthquake.

    The United Nations estimates that as many as eight million people have had their lives disrupted by the earthquake, adding that more than 1.4 million people need food assistance, including 750,000 who live near the quake’s epicentre in poor quality housing. Tens of thousands are thought to have been left homeless.

    Millions continue to wait for help while relief efforts have begun to reach the most affected areas – mostly indigenous populated – sluggishly where the earthquake has flattened many villages entirely. Food and medical supplies are running low while risks loom large for health epidemic as a result of lack of clean drinking water and sanitation in temporary open shelters.

    Many of those who lost their loved ones, homes and livelihoods are indigenous peoples. It is with this that Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) in close coordination with its members and partners in Nepal is issuing this urgent appeal for support for the affected indigenous peoples in Nepal.

    AIPP expresses its concern to the adoption of one door policy by the Government of Nepal which directs all the funds to Prime Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund since it may restrict the outreach of the relief assistance to the affected Indigenous Groups in the country.

    The Indigenous Peoples Campaign for the Earthquake Victims was recently launched by the members and partners in Nepal for relief and rehabilitation support for affected indigenous communities. This campaign is coordinated by the Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) in collaboration with various indigenous peoples organizations in Nepal.

    The Lawyers Association for the Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples (LAHURNIP) is also launching a similar campaign to support affected indigenous communities they are working with.

    For cash contributions:

    • To support the Indigenous Peoples Campaign for the Earthquake Victims

    Bank Account Name: Nagendra/Kusum/Naresh/Gyanendra
    Account Number: 00210062171019
    Bank Name and Branch Address: Civil Bank Limited
    Swift Code: CIVLNPKA

    • Food supplies (rice, canned goods preferably sardines or tuna, biscuits, sugar, salt, spices, cooking oil, boiled eggs, dried fish)
    • Bottled drinking water and water purifiers
    • Gas for generators, Fuel for vehicles
    • Clothing
    • Blankets
    • Sleeping mats
    • New underwear and new/used clothes
    • Toiletries (soap)
    • Cooking pot
    • Flashlights
    • Batteries
    • Tents
    • Laundry soap
    • Medicines (Paracetamol, pain relievers, anti worm (mebendazole), antacid, antibiotics such as amoxicillin, Cotrimoxazole and cloxaxillin; elastic bandages, gauze, hydrogen peroxide and betadine)

    Food supplies will also be used for food-for-work programmes in road clearing and in the repair and rehabilitation of communities and damaged livelihood.

    Thank you very much and we look forward to your support not only in this trying times that our indigenous brothers and sisters in Nepal are experiencing but also in our continuing struggle for the recognition, respect and protection of indigenous peoples rights and welfare in the region.

    Sincerely,
    Ms. Joan Carling


    Brief note on the 25 April 2015 earthquake in Nepal and its effect on Indigenous Population
    Information sourced out from various sources, Ministry of Home Affairs, daily situation reports of un.org.np, newspaper, websites, etc.

    Out of 75 districts, 30 districts in Nepal have been affected with the earthquake on 25 April 2015. The hard hit districts are Gorkha (epicenter of the earthquake), Lamjung (initially reported as the epicenter), Dhadhing, Rasuwa, Sindhupalchowk, Kavre, Nuwakot, Dolakha, Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur and Ramechhap. All of these districts are populated by various indigenous groups.

    There has been no verified information received so far on the actual number of casualties and the situation in Lamjung despite of it being the epicenter of the earthquake. Lamjung has a high population of Gurungs.

    Two villages of Gorkha, Barpark and Larpark have been totally flattened out. While the initiatives for Barpark seem to have started, nothing has been possible for Larpark since the relief helicopters could not land. The pictures shared in tweets show totally flattened out entire village and the badly damaged hills. Larpark is notably a Gurung village. Baburam Bhattarai, former PM of Nepal has pointed out for the need of small helicopters to operate in this area to that of large ones currently deployed by the Indian Army.

    Very less is known about Rasuwa and Lamjung. The helicopter survey shows all washed out village and completely ruined Langtang National park where the number of trekkers are either stranded or not have survived. Exact number of casualties is not verified and known. This district is home to Tamang, Gurungs and Sherpa indigenous community.

    As of 4 May afternoon, the official information on the death as twitted by the Earthquake-Nepal (twitter handle of Ministry of Home Affairs) is reported to be 7365 dead and 14366 injured. Disaggregated data is unavailable since 28 April 2015. Till then the available district wise data has ben as follows:

    875 deaths and 279 injured in Sindhupalchowk. Sindhupalchowk has population of Tamang, Majhi, Sherpa, Thami, Hyolmo, and Newars. In Dolakha, 808 deaths and 2400. Around 300 yarshagumba pickers are reportedly missing in the upper Dolakha valley. Dolakha has the population of Surel, Jirel, Thami groups. Kathmandu has 808 deaths and 2400 injuries, while in Bhaktapur there has been equal number of 232 deaths and injuries.

    There has been no information on the death/injuries or the situation report on other districts. The media and the citizens-led relief initiatives seem to be concentrating on Kathmandu and Gorkha.

    The earthquake has destroyed the four important UNESCO cultural heritage sites of Nepal which was important historical record of the Indigenous population in Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur. They used to hold significant role in the practice of cultural rituals too.

    Nepal Government has announced the relief of NPR40,000/- per dead member to the family.

    Download urgent appeal here.