The current situation:
The entire WAWCAS team has been in Lamjung since the 7th of May to assess the damages and check up on the women and their families in the affected areas. As most of the villages are cut off from contact with the outside world, the team spent four days walking by foot to the different villages. The primary focus was on the women affiliated with the WAWCAS Program but it is impossible not to help those in need in a situation like this.
WAWCAS is present in five areas in Lamjung and Dhamilakure is in an especially bad state. Here the houses of almost all of the 350 women affiliated with WAWCAS have been destroyed. People are living on the ground without protection from the heavy rain. However, pig and goat stables are still standing and many have found refuge in these. A lot of the businesses are also intact. Most families had already gathered supplies for the Monsoon rain and they are great at sharing with each other. Consequently they have enough food at this point but not for long.
In the area of Kopan, Kathmandu WAWCAS is only in contact with 50 percent of the women. Two of these have lost children and husbands. The WAWCAS team recurrently visits the women and make sure they congregate to support each other. The remaining 50 percent have left their houses and gone to their native villages to either search for missing family members or escape from the widespread and contagious diseases like diarrhea, cholera, typhus etc. in Kathmandu.
However hopeless the current situation might seem some women manage to remain positive and find opportunities despite the chaos and despair. Some have reopened their stores and see a lot of business, since all established stores are closed.
In general the women of WAWCAS and their families have been fortunate enough to escape the earthquake relatively unharmed. Most were working in the fields at the time and there is no doubt that this saved many lives. Even though they escaped the earthquake itself, their situation is highly fragile. Their food can only last so long, most have no clothing and no place to live, the hygiene is bad and diseases are spreading quickly. They need long-term support and they need it from WAWCAS and from each other. It is the objective of WAWCAS to provide the long-term support the women need to regain the independence they had fought for and lost.
1,000 solar lamps
At the moment, WAWCAS is working to provide the women with long-term support by the means of 1,000 solar lamps. The affected areas are without electricity and therefore also without much needed light. The light is not only a necessity in the sense that it is needed for practical reasons but also in order for the children to be able to read and do homework again. Light is a way of regaining some of what was lost in pursuit of life as it used to be.
300 tents as temporary shelter
Since the earthquake has destroyed most of the houses it is vital for the families to find temporary shelter. Several organisations in the area have stored tents, cooking equipment and support for hygienic purposes but the distribution of this material is a complicated and bureaucratic process. WAWCAS is committed to help facilitate this process in order to ensure that the material reach those in need as fast possible.
More information will follow when we have news regarding the solar lamps and the tents.