Many people seem to be going out to Sindhupalchowk today to provide relief. Some experiences from yesterday that may be useful:
1) Our agenda was to deliver the trucks to the CDO (Chief District Officer) at Chautara, the capital of Sindhupalchowk. We had heard that there was looting on the way, so we had the army with us, because of which we did not get looted on the way up. However, on the way back, we noticed that the road was blocked because the locals had blocked a convoy of army trucks with relief goods. After 30 minutes, the locals finally agreed to let normal traffic flow when the three military trucks parked on the side.
2) Though we gave most of what we had to the CDO, on the way back, our plan was to accompany a military truck and make a few stops to distribute some of the tents ourselves. In the very first stop, there was a standoff with the locals because they did not agree to taking only 30 tents as was the plan and wanted everything. When the situation became escalated, the army turned back and went to the barracks.
3) There are two things that people desperately want: tents/tarps and rice. Noodles, blankets, etc. are only a nice-to-have
4) There seems to be a lot of angst towards the government because of their apathy. My two cents: The CDO office was working with the army for relief. At this time, the army (which is 90% mobilized for relief) is probably our best bet to reach the people. They don’t have the infrastructure and processes to help yet, but if we channel relief through the government and push them to deliver, that may be the best way forward. They are best positioned to receive latest information and remove redundancy.
5) The road leading to Chautara is fine. There have been a couple of small landslides, but they have been cleared
6) Most of the aid seems to be going to Chautara and the road leading to it. If you have vehicles that can go off-road, it may be a good idea to go to other villages in Sindhupalchowk where aid hasn’t even reached