Saturday, September 24, 2011

Relief team reaches traumatized remote Sikkim Villages

Relief team carrying relief materials crosses a landslide at Bey Village in Upper Dzongu on 22nd September 2011
Funeral of earthquake victims at Bey where seven people were killed when a landslide pulverised their homes. The funeral was organized by VHAS volunteers. A fresh landslide tore down the slope even as the cremation was underway
The volunteers distribute medicines to earthquake
survivors at Bey
The part of Bey village where a landslide washed away
seven people and their homes on Sunday night

Voluntary Health Association of Sikkim (VHAS) has been trying to gather information on the disaster and also directly visiting affected areas of different districts for immediate relief work.
VHAS has been coordinating with government agencies such as District Control Room, District Development Officers, Block Development Officer, Rural Development Assistant, Panchayats members and NGOs, informs a press release.
A team of VHAS comprising of Executive Director, Dr BB Rai, Mr Nehru, Mr Ashok, Mr. Ash Bahadur, Mr. Subhankar, Mr. Kamal and Mr. Prem Chettri reached the highly affected villages of Tumin Gram Panchayat Unit of East District on 19 Sept. As access to the villages was totally damaged, the team had to walk through jungles and hills for more than five hours to reach the affected villages.

The VHAS relief team reached Bey village yesterday at 10.30 am where almost all the houses are totally damaged. The team distributed readymade food items, poly tents, torch with batteries and First Aid boxes containing medicines for minor ailments. While the VHAS team was interacting with the Panchayat, a helicopter came and dropped raw food items basically rice, dal and cooking oil. After collecting the items that were dropped, they were stored in one damaged house. In order to protect it from rain, the VHAS team covered the roof of the house with poly tents.
Thanking the team, the Panchayat, narrated the story of the earthquake and landslides. He said, members of his family have been washed away by the landslides while his brother and sister in-law were buried along with their child but the disaster has compelled him to be strong to face the challenges ahead. A total of seven people have been washed away in the Bey village and one child is missing, he said. One part of the Bey village comprising of four houses was totally washed away without leaving any trace, he added.
The VHAS Relief team helped them in organizing the funeral of four dead bodies on the bank of a nearby river. While the funeral ceremony was going on, landslides suddenly struck and every one ran away from the place, halfway through the funeral. The team convinced the people to come down to Lingzya village, a safer and accessible place where relief camps are well organized. The people have agreed to come down to Lingzya village by tomorrow.
The VHAS team returned in the afternoon and reported the situation to the North District Control Room and reached Gangtok last night.

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