Flash Flood in the Yangri Valley
Dear Friends of Himalayan Life
I have sobering news to share. On June 15, a flooding situation of cataclysmic proportions has occurred in Central and Eastern Nepal. Entire towns have been washed away or inundated. To the best of our understanding, the events were triggered by both heavy rainfall and a glacial lake burst in the mountains. The loss of human life and infrastructure is significant.
Sadly, the Yangri Valley and the towns downstream are affected heavily. There is no way of conveying this gently: Our school in Yangri has been largely destroyed, with several buildings completely washed away or substantially damaged.
It is with great relief, however, that I can report to you that all our staff, their families and the kids are safe. They were able to flee to higher ground just in the nick of time. Sonam, our local program director, evacuated the school grounds at 10PM, noticing a significant change in the river. Around midnight, a flash flood surged down the valley on top of the already swollen river, taking out most of our buildings in a matter of minutes, and damaging the remaining infrastructure beyond repair. The premises of the Yangri Academic Centre (YAC) were turned into a wasteland.
All other Himalayan Life projects remain unaffected by the flooding.
While power and communication lines have been knocked out in the entire region, I have been able to establish contact with Sonam. He is providing leadership to the staff and the community as they are trapped for the time being, with all the bridges in the region having been swept away. They are safe, however, as they remain on higher ground, and they do have access to sufficient provisions and clean drinking water. Thankfully, one of the remaining buildings (the dorm) also contains our storage room with blankets and spare clothing, and our staff are helping out villagers who have escaped with nothing but the shirt on their backs.
Obviously, I grieve the loss of the beautiful buildings which were created as a response to the earthquake. I am deeply troubled by the loss of the property. I am only too aware of the heartache this is causing to our staff who have been pouring their lives into this school and to all who have invested in this fantastic project. However, land can be replaced, buildings can be rebuilt, and dare I say it, rebuilding we will because we must not, ever, give up on the children in whose lives we have lit up the flame of hope.
Once we have been able to carefully and prayerfully assess the situation and develop a plan of action, I will be in touch with next steps. Meanwhile, we are setting up The Yangri Emergency Fund. If you can and feel led to, please contribute generously. Thank you for your support, prayer and encouragement through this time.