Dehradun’s Gorkha community anxiously wait for news on relatives

Four lakh-strong Gorkha community in the city is abuzz with news from Nepal and is eagerly waiting to hear from their relatives and friends living in the Himalayan nation. 

As the community gears to do its bit to help the victims, any news from Nepal spreads like wild fire. This is the time to be cautious as experience states that there are various stages in a natural calamity.

The first is rescue, which is a government and specialised job, than comes relief – which means all-out help, and lastly rehabilitation, which again is that of the government, World Bank and in this case international responsibility. 

At present, rescue stage is giving over to relief and the role of an average citizen is immense as every drop fills an ocean. The community is also trying to connect with various Gorkha settlements spread across the hill state through social media.

Col DK Pradhan, living in Garhi Dehradun, was on a trip to his ancestral village Huwas  in district Parbat – 66km southwest of Pokhra. As the crow flies, this would be around 90km from Lambung, the epicentre of the quake. 

He left his village on April 24 around 11.45am. The quake struck the very next day around the same time. Every cloud has a silver lining, he wondered if the quake struck by day no school building were destroyed. The answer is simple, in Nepal Saturday is a holiday, Sunday is the first working day. So, all schools were closed. In his village, all ninety houses, including his, are in shambles.

It was sheer providence that the quake was also by day, and all people were outside and working. With all 90 houses destroyed, people are still sleeping in tarpaulins. It has been the will of the lord that human life is spared. 

The colonel was informed on phone by relatives while reaching home in Dehradun. 

General Ramu Pradhan, a retired three-star general, is busy arranging for funds, along with Col Chetri President Gorkha Sudhar Sabha, Dehradun. 

In Kathmandu, the local population is Newars, which is a predominately a business community and most of them make three-storey houses. The topmost floor is always the kitchen, the bottom two stories are used for living. 

General Pradhan said his sister in Kathmandu spent three nights at an ashram as all residents were afraid to go back home. He spoke to his relatives within half an hour the quake shook the country. All his relatives are fine. 

He can now talk to them intermittently, but after a minute or so the call gets automatically disconnected. The areas that has been phone-calling are Bhaktapur, Patan and Kathmandu. 

Relief is essential, but kindly do give the same to registered bodies, and thereafter, try and get in touch with the government of Nepal. 

Unlike Uttarakhand, a lot of people came with trucks and ensured timely aid. An unsubstantiated report doing the rounds that people who went with trucks had to pay tax at various entry points, which speaks of the level of coordination. 

It is human to give aid, but please ensure it reaches the right people. 

It will take time the dust will settle down, civil society will organise, the media will catch on to another story, but relief and rehabilitation in Nepal is a long-drawn process, and India has to walk its talk and deliver. India, this time, cannot fail and Nepal cannot say that India talks and China delivers. 

For that not to happen, every citizen has to put his might behind the government of India. 
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