Miraculously, beautiful little Bihani, only 2.5 years old, was found alive but trapped inside her completely demolished home, pinned under bricks and debris after a massive earthquake. Fortunately she was rescued quickly, with only a few scrapes and bruises, but with a terrible loss—her mother died next to her in the hallway, just steps away from the door. Bihani, now in the care of her aunt, lives with eight other extended family members in a makeshift tent made from plastic sheeting. Her family lost almost all their possessions and food stores in the quake. But Bihani is just one heartbreaking story among thousands in Nepal. The two earthquakes that hit Nepal this year killed more than 9,000 people, injured more than 23,000, flattened entire villages, ruined or damaged more than 900,000 homes, and left hundreds of thousands homeless.
On His Path responded immediately with compassion for the people of Nepal, partnering with Operation Blessing to provide safe water, food, shelter, medical help and much needed supplies to the impoverished nation. Operation Blessing quickly set up a chlorine production facility in capital city Katmandu, and community water stations in many rural communities. These efforts made it possible to disinfect large amounts of water for drinking and prevent waterborne illnesses. Over one million people have been blessed by this clean water effort in Nepal. Operation Blessing also provided over 250 tons of food supplies to earthquake victims, including rice, lentils, cereal, salt, oil and soy beans. In addition, essential supplies such as blankets, cooking kits, mosquito nets and hygiene kits were distributed. Distributing this help was not always easy, as many rural villages were high up in the Himalayas, and difficult to reach due to damage to the roads from the earthquakes. Then the monsoon season arrived, further destabilizing the earthquake-cracked mountains, and producing landslides that swept away entire villages. Rural villagers started coming down from the mountains because they had lost everything – their homes, their crops, their livelihoods. Unfortunately many people who lived in Katmandu were also without shelter and living in tents –more than 100 camps sprang up in Katmandu alone.
To help provide aid for these people, Operation Blessing not only set up and improved several IDP (Internally Displaced People) camps, but continues to provide aid in the form of food, supplies and clean water to several IDP camps in Katmandu. Almost six months after the quakes, the Nepalese government is still caught in political infighting, unable to spend the $4.4 billion in foreign aid for reconstruction and rehabilitation. Rebuilding was virtually halted during the monsoon season, and now winter is coming. In this environment, On His Path and Operation Blessing will continue their partnership to help the Nepalese people with rebuilding homes and lives of the very vulnerable – widows, orphans, single mothers and the elderly. Construction has begun for 65 permanent houses that consist of two rooms plus a kitchen area that can house a family of six. Two schools were rebuilt, and school supplies delivered so that children can return to their studies for the new school year. A reconstructed orphanage has also been supplied for the winter months. To help people regain their livelihoods, On His Path and Operation Blessing are partnering to support a training center for vulnerable widows and mothers from the IDP camps, training them in small business skills – cooking, sewing and beauty classes will be taught in 30-day intense workshops. These workshops will allow these vulnerable women to start their own small businesses and provide for their families. As Nepal struggles to recover from the tremendous loss and devastation caused by the earthquakes, On His Path and Operation Blessing continue to work hard to be a source of hope and meet the needs of hurting families throughout Nepal. Thank you for your partnership and resources that have enabled this hope to reach many in dire need.
Submitted by: Ronda Sherman, Operation Blessing