As Nepal was hit by a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that killed over eight thousand people on April 25, Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns from various monasteries in Nepal sprung to relief and rehabilitation work in the quake affected areas, almost immediately following the incident.
During the first few days of the earthquake, their primary focus was on saving lives by rescuing the sick and wounded from the quake ravaged rubbles and collapsed buildings. First aid services and basic necessities such as food, water, blanket, toiletries, and tent were also provided.
The initial focus area of the majority of the relief and rescue efforts were apparent in Kathmandu and its surroundings, however, as the scale of destruction in Nepal's remote areas became more evident, many shifted their emphasis from the city centers to the mountainous regions, which bore the main brunt of the destruction and the deaths.
Kusho Jidol who is the President of the Nepal Buddhist Federation (NBF) tells VOA that almost all the monasteries and the nunneries in Nepal from different schools of Tibetan Buddhism are actively engaged in the relief and rehabilitation work. He added that NBF was able to begin their relief work on the third day of the quake, and have provided food, water, tent, medical supplies to thousands of affected people in different parts of Nepal, while saving a few lives within the course of providing assistance to the victims. While their concentration has been in and around Kathmandu the first few days following the incident, a bulk of their current relief work are being undertaken outside the city where the damage has been more severe.
The majority of the monasteries and nunneries in Nepal have been involved in some level of relief efforts for the quake victims, but to get a sense of how they implement their mission, VOA has interviewed a few key people who are involved in the coordination and management of these programs.
Just like the rest of Nepal, many Tibetan monasteries and nunneries have suffered from the earthquake, but the majority of them have sprung into action to benefit others.
In this report, we interviewed Kusho Jigdol, President of Nepal Buddhist Association; Ani Changsem, Head of Kopan Nunnery; Pachok Rinpoche, Khanying Shedrupling Monastery; Khemo Jigme Tenzin Zangmo, Druk Amitabha Nunnery, and Changling Rinpoche of Sechen Monastery to understand the scale of their respective relief efforts and its impact on the affected people.