After the devastating earthquake that rocked Nepal in April of 2015, thousands of people, particularly in the mountain villages, were left without shelter. Their stone homes which had protected them from the cold now lay in piles of rubble at their feet. With little resources to rebuild a secure home, many are still living in temporary metal and bamboo shelters like this one.
Several families were living together in this shelter. It is made with corrugated sheet metal. And they live not far from Mount Everest in the Himalayan Mountains. What is it like to live inside a metal shelter in the middle of winter in the Himalayan mountains? I cannot even imagine.
Under the direction of our Area Presidency, and in partnership with the government of Nepal, LDS Charities ordered 10,000 wool blend blankets to distribute to the villages most affected by the earthquake. Our amazing couples in Nepal, Elder and Sister Oliphant and Elder and Sister Weaver, worked hard to make all the arrangements. Together with the Area Office we got the blankets ordered from a factory in China (there were no wool blankets available for purchase in Nepal and we can't get anything across the border from India), shipped by truck down to Lhasa, Tibet and then to the Nepal border, and across into Nepal. Thank you to Ryan Lee from the Area Office for these photos. He flew to the Chinese manufacturing company several times to ensure that our blankets were being made as ordered.
Our blankets are bundled up in bales and are ready for loading and shipping.
Loading 500 bales onto the trucks.
Ready for the trip to Lhasa, Tibet
At Lhasa, they had to unload the bales from the big trucks and re-load them onto smaller trucks so they could make it through the Himalayan Mountains.
Then they made their way through the Friendship Highway - seen below. This dangerous narrow stretch of road is subject to avalanches, mudslides, robbers and tumbles down the side of the mountain. We prayed for our blankets!
|Courtesy of flikr.com/Steve Hicks|
Gratefully, they safely made it, and distribution of the 10,000 blankets was able to be made. Thank you to Elder and Sister Oliphant for these photos. In the below photo, the bales of blankets are stacked and ready for distribution to this particular village. You can see the earthquake damage in the building behind the blankets.
Just what we ordered - yay! The LDSC logo was stitched in the corner of each one.
This man was all smiles for his blanket. Blankets were handed out to individuals selected by the local village and district government to ensure that only those most needy received them. Recipient families received one blanket each, regardless of the size of their family.
This man is named Talibas Thresha. He only had a couple of teeth, but he was very happy to get the blanket. Here he is walking home after he got one at the distribution.
This is Hari Gurung. He is 53 years old and from the Chap area of Nuwakot District.
He said, "We are feeling cold. Lots of people come and only give us a handshake and say 'Hi'. You bring us a blanket."
We asked if the people were happy with the blankets. He said, "Just look at all the people smiling."
This family has received their blanket and will begin their walk back to their village. Some travel for several hours to come to the distribution site. Their villages are often so remote that vehicles cannot reach them. Some have to cross suspension footbridges to reach the supplies.
In this photo you can see one of the suspension footbridges in the background. The villagers are receiving blankets, tarps and rice.
Supplies loaded on backs, the villagers begin their long hike back to their homes, sometimes several hours away.
10,000 wool blankets. 10,000 warmer homes. Not to mention the tons of other supplies of food and emergency items that have been distributed to those suffering from the earthquake last year. 10,000 blessings.
Thank you to everyone for making this possible.
"And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." (Matt. 25:40)
"This is Manil Toka (the little girl) with Dipu Tamal holding her.
They had made the hike from the village just to see us."