K'Ehleyr21 April 2010 at 10:40pmPosts: 8422 (0 today)Status: offline
We are extremely grateful to all our donors who have given so generously to help rebuild the eye care programs in the earthquake zone.
We've just received one bit of very good news from the disaster area. Contrary to earlier reports, the hospital in Yushu where Seva works was not destroyed, though the building was damaged in the quake and has cracks.
The latest reports via Dolma at the Seva Tibet office in Lhasa are that one hospital staff member died in the earthquake.
The Seva Tibet staff have been extremely active in responding to the quake. As far as we know, Dr. Dorjee of the Kham Eye Centre and his eye care team are still in the disaster zone providing emergency medical care; they treated 800 patients on the first day.
Seva Tibet's program director, Kunga Tashi, is also there. Before joining Seva, Kunga was the head of the Swiss Red Cross in Tibet, so he is very experienced in relief efforts and he was also involved in the earthquake relief after the 2008 Kham (Sichuan) earthquake.
Because Seva has worked in the Yushu region for so long, he has many contacts on the ground.
Yesterday morning (April 20th) we got this update from Dolma in the Seva Tibet office:
Kunga la arrived on 17th around 7:00 pm in Yushu with 3 trucks of goods. On that night and the next day, he couldn't distribute the food because there were many people (not necessarily poor people or earthquake victims) trying to rob all the supplies of the three trucks.
Those people tend to rob food and medical supplies and then sell them in the Yushu town.
In order to assure that the most needy people receive the food, clothes and medical supplies, Kunga la and the disabled person's federation (our program partner) worked together and distributed 35.5 tons of goods with 3 trucks to poor people on 19th.
The goods distributed are $ 17,043 of tsampa (Tibetan barley), $23,023 of warm clothes and shoes, $10,800 of medicines and eye drops and $ 6265 of tents.
On Saturday evening (17th,) the second batch of goods with 4 trucks (46.5 tons) left for Yushu. In those trucks, there are $26,063 of tsampa, $3055 of butter, $2135 of canned meat, $4453 of mineral water, $860 of dry black tea, $6059 of clothes, $1471 of salt, $220 of match and candles and $191 of instant noodles.
All 4 trucks arrived in Yushu safely by 20th morning. Kunga la is trying to distribute some of the goods through monasteries, which have more access to poor earthquake victims.
He is also linked up with a local association in which the director of the association is the Princess [the Panchen Lama's daughter who Kunga knows well], to locate more victims and to identify other needs. The Princess is traveling to Yushu on 22nd.
Kunga la is saying that 100% of Tibetan houses are collapsed and 80% of concrete-built houses are cracked.
Medical needs are pretty well fulfilled by different groups of medical teams sent by the government. The urgent need so far seems to be tents, tsampa and butter.
The food flooding to Yushu from mainland is instant noodles but many nomads have stomach ache of eating them everyday and have more desire to eat tsampa.
The board and staff of Seva Canada, Seva Tibet and Seva Foundation have raised money internally and are wiring money to Tibet to help with Kunga's efforts.
We have appealed to our donors to help in the long-term rebuilding of the eye care programs in this region which has one of the highest rates of blindness in the world.
According to reports on the ground, the death toll from the earthquake is much higher than the official estimates and the numbers of dead reported in the media.
The media today were reporting that the number of dead has reached 2,183 and that the earthquake also injured 12,135 people and left several thousand people homeless in the remote, largely Tibetan area.
People providing on-the-ground relief estimate the death toll is many times higher.
The following is a poem of thanks from Dr. Chundak Tenzing, Tibetan ophthalmologist and Program Director at Seva Foundation, our sister organization in Berkeley ' as well as being Seva's poet laureate:
How in minutes
Life is buried
And the eyes
In life again.
K'Ehleyr22 April 2010 at 1:00amPosts: 8422 (0 today)Status: offline