Meet Krishna, Nepal Earthquake Survivor

This post was written by Umer Khan, LWR’s Senior Director for Emergency Operations, just days before a second 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck parts of Nepal. LWR staff on the ground report they are safe and continue to work to reach out to people affected by the April 25 earthquake. If you’d like to learn more about our response or make a gift, please visit lwr.org/nepalearthquake

Overlooking breathtaking scenery from 4,700 feet, it’s as if a green carpet of rice and maize fields has been laid out for a picture-perfect movie scene. Breathing in the mild cold breeze of the Himalayas, I can see the cloud-touching peak of Mount Everest, standing tall with its pride and refusing to show any signs of what its natives have just gone through.

Yet there I found myself, turning back to the line of men and women waiting for the food and shelter items to be distributed by LWR. That’s where I met Krishna Kumari Dhakal.

A Remote Area

Krishna has lived in the village of Jaubari Dhansar her entire life. Located in the remote Gorkha District of Nepal, it is among the hardest hit by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal April 25.

LWR staff and staff from local partner organization, COPPADES, distribute relief supplies in Ghorka District, after the 2015 Nepal Earthquake. (Photo credit: COPPADES for LWR)
LWR staff and staff from local partner organization, COPPADES, distribute relief supplies in Ghorka District, after the 2015 Nepal Earthquake. (Photo credit: COPPADES for LWR)

In fact, the village is so remote that LWR team had to switch from our regular four-wheel drive SUV to a customized Jeep designed to navigate the rough terrain. It took us more than two hours to drive less than 20 miles, with no sight of paved road for most of the trip.  It takes the villagers more than four hours and costs $2 in bus rides to get to the nearest town.

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“It feels like the earth is shaking all the time.”

Krishna says she feels lucky that her family – including her husband, two sons and pregnant daughter-in-law – weren’t harmed in the quake. It struck during a time when many people in the village are usually outside sitting or working.

While Krishna is thankful to have survived the earthquake, she says she’s lost all her belongings. Her family’s food supply is buried under the rubble and she says it will take them years to rebuild their house on the roughly $8-10 per day income her husband and sons bring home from working in the nearby town. As for herself, Krishna says she’s traumatized. “It feels like the earth is shaking all the time,” she says.

Relief and Recovery

Krishna said she’s had to borrow food from those who had some left. The food packages LWR distributed that day are designed to last 15 days for a family of five, but she hopes it will last longer. The family also received a 12- by 15-foot tarp to cover the roof of their house.  This will help protect Krishna and her family from the rains, which will intensify during the upcoming monsoon season, which runs from June through September.

A building in the Ghorka District of Nepal that was damaged during the April 25 earthquake.
A home in the Ghorka District of Nepal that was damaged during the April 25 earthquake.

While these items provide temporary relief to Krishna and 3,600 families like hers, LWR’s programs will work to help these families with longer-term recovery. Our project will provide longer-term food assistance, as well as help families rebuild their homes and livelihoods in order to fight poverty, one of the underlying causes of people’s vulnerability to disaster.

The work we are doing and the challenges we’ve faced remind me of what my elders would say “There is a path to the top of even the highest mountain.”

You Can Help

LWR is working on the ground to reach people affected by this on-going disaster. Here are a few ways you can help.

  • Pray for the people of Nepal and those who work to reach them.
  • Give a gift to support our response. We are working to reach remote areas with food rations, shelter supplies and more.
  • Make LWR Quilts and Kits. LWR Quilts and Kits are needed and highly valued in emergency situations. Your donations help us continue providing them.
  • Share our response with others, especially on Facebook and Twitter. To share, you can simply copy the web address for this post and paste it into a status update.