The long road to normalcy through music and games

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***Click to DONATE NOW to support our relief efforts in Nepal. ***

Good Neighbors dispatched our PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) Program Operations team to assist children and people affected by the April 25th and May 12th earthquakes in Nepal. The team set up two child-friendly spaces in the AaruArbang Village Development Committee within our Gorkha Community Development Project (CDP) site, where children participate in games, music, and art programs to help cope with the stress and instability they face.

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Our Emergency Relief team and PTSD Program Operations team is planning to expand this program to additional Good Neighbors CDPs, including Sangla, Lele and Badikhel.

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The program allows children to express what they are experiencing emotionally by drawing, writing and playing games. The staff explains that their emotions are symptoms of PTSD and are common among people who experience traumatic events.

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Good Neighbors developed its own “PTSD Prevention Program Workbook” that incorporates recognition behavior therapy. It has been used in several emergency situations for children affected by humanitarian disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines (November 2013), the civil conflict in Syria (September 2013), the forest fire in Valparaíso, Chile (April 2014), the earthquake in San Marcos, Guatemala (July 2014), and flood in Puerto Antequera, Paraguay (August 2013).

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“The earthquake didn’t just destroy buildings. People are the real victims and they are living in a constant state of fear and shock. Our PTSD program will help them become mentally strong again so that they can return to their daily lives.” – Yeoul Lee (Emergency Relief Team Leader)

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***Click to DONATE NOW to support our relief efforts in Nepal. ***

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Nepal Earthquake Updates – May 13th

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The road to Soti blocked by fallen rocks due to a landslide

On May 12th, a 7.3-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal again, 17 days after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake on April 25th claimed the lives of more than 8,000 people. The epicenter of yesterday’s earthquake was near Mt. Everest, approximately 83km east of Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital. The number of casualties and injuries are still coming in, and people affected by the earthquake are living in a constant state of fear due to the more aftershocks.

Thankfully, yesterday’s earthquake didn’t do as much destruction in the district of Gorkha, which was one of the hardest hit areas of the April 25th earthquake. However there are still isolated incidents of falling rocks and landslides in certain areas. Our Emergency Relief team is now re-assessing both the safety and the needs of our sponsored children and community members throughout our Gorkha project site locations.

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People of Soti waiting for medical attention

“The second earthquake caused a landslide in the northern part of Soti. This area is inaccessible by car since the roads connecting this area have been damaged. Our staff stationed in this area are safe and have escaped the village with military personnel and local people on foot. We’re doing what we can to provide additional assistance to the people of Soti.” – Roh Kyoung Hoo, Good Neighbors Nepal Country Director

The people in Nepal are in a state of constant fear and shock as they are coping with the aftermath of the country’s biggest earthquake in history. Most people are still afraid to return to their homes and are living outside.

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Good Neighbors Emergency Relief team providing medical support

Our Emergency Relief team will resume relief efforts as soon as the situation stabilizes. Our plans include distributing more relief supplies to families, and our rebuilding efforts include launching a PTSD program for over 2,000 children. Additionally, Good Neighbors Nepal plans to build child-friendly spaces for children who cannot return to school because of the destruction, which will include activities and other support services.

***Click to DONATE NOW to support our relief efforts in Nepal. ***

 

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4 kids + 4 sponsored kids = 1 big happy family

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Loving family (top l-r: Sandy, John; bottom l-r: Sammy, Ericka, Nicole, Kayden)

We had the chance to sit down with Sandy Byon, one of our amazing donors who has supported Good Neighbors for over 5 years through our Water For Life project and others.  She’s the mom of 4 daughters (!) and also sponsors 4 children through our Child Sponsorship Program.  We were thrilled to catch up with Sandy to hear about what it’s like being a busy mom and still make time to support other children around the world.

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Nepal Earthquake Updates – May 4th

 

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***Click to DONATE NOW to support our relief efforts in Nepal. ***

Good Neighbors was the first international NGO to send an emergency response team to the Gorkha district, the epicenter of the April 25th earthquake. On April 28th, we distributed our first round of emergency relief kits to a village called Phinam, making us the first NGO to provide relief in this area. Over the weekend, we completed our second and third rounds of distribution, providing assistance to a total of 1,146 families. Below is a recap of our relief efforts inside Gorkha during the critical first week following the earthquake.

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On May 4th, Good Neighbors International sent an emergency medical team with a doctor, a nurse and an emergency medical technician from Wonju Severance Christian Hospital in South Korea. The team will be working at our mobile clinics inside Gorkha district. In order to ensure that they can begin assisting people as soon as they arrive in Nepal, we established a partnership with the Nepal government, who granted us permission to begin work immediately. We are also building base camps in Arkhet Bazar and Soti Khola where the medical team will be working.

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On May 3rd, we explored different options to procure three additional truckloads of tarpaulins and emergency food. At the same time we assembled temporary logistics bases/distribution centers and established supply routes near Arughat Bazar, Arkhet Bazar and Soti Khola so that we could distribute relief items more effectively and efficiently.

The safety and well-being of the children in our Child Sponsorship Program is one of our priorities. We discuss with community members our plans for reconstruction, so that people could return to their daily lives. We are also planning to provide PTSD and psycho-social treatment for children, and build a child-friendly learning and activity space.

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May 1st & 2nd: Third distribution of relief goods to 350 families in Thumi

When the second distribution was completed, we immediately made preparations for the next one. In order to help as many areas as possible, we set out to reach another isolated village. We drove north from AaruArbang for 2 hours and walked another 4 hours to reach a village called Thumi. Its devastation was comparable to ones suffered by villages all across Gorkha. The village clinic and school were reduced to rubble, but luckily there was no human casualties.

We distributed emergency goods to 350 families in Thumi over two days. With monsoon season arriving soon, the people of Thumi need tarps and food the most. Since the earthquake hit, it has been extremely difficult to obtain tarps inside Nepal, so we had them shipped from India. The villagers were elated when Good Neighbors arrived to help, since they had been isolated and cut-off from the outside for more than five days.

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April 30th & May 1st: Second distribution to 595 families in AaruArbang

AaruArbang is a mountain village that takes nearly 8 hours by car to reach from the main city of Gorkha. Roads leading up to the village were damaged, so our team walked about 30 minutes, and could still feel the aftershocks as they were walking towards the village. Once they arrived, our team realized that because homes were dispersed throughout the mountainside, this made it difficult to communicate about the kit distribution. With the help of the village leader, our team was able to visit every house to share information about the distribution. However by that time, it was nightfall, so to ensure the safety of villagers and our team, the distribution was postponed until the following morning. On May 1st, relief goods were distributed to 595 families.

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April 28th: First distribution to 201 families in Phinam village

Although the epicenter of the earthquake was in Gorkha, most of the world’s humanitarian response efforts have been pouring into Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital. However, Gorkha’s situation is more dire. Good Neighbors sent its first emergency relief team to a village called Phinam, which is one of our project sites. Our distribution of relief goods made Good Neighbors one of the first NGOs to respond inside Gorkha district.

Good Neighbors distributed tarps, food and blankets with the cooperation of the local government, military and police. Our partnership with the local authorities made it more efficient to provide second and third rounds of distribution.

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We are continuing our relief efforts inside Gorkha. Most of the villages in the district are still isolated and cut-off from the outside. Since the first earthquake, Good Neighbors has been able to assess damages in our community development project sites in Phinam, AaruArbang and Thumi with the help of local authorities and the community, with our focus on Lapu next. Their support and cooperation are invaluable in all our relief efforts. We are close to confirming the safety of all our sponsored children in Gorkha; currently, we’ve assessed that 92% of 974 children in our Child Sponsorship Program are safe.

***Click to DONATE NOW to support our relief efforts in Nepal. ***

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Nepal Earthquake Updates

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Click to DONATE NOW to support our relief efforts in Nepal. 

Update 5/1/15, 4:00 pm PST

We’ve confirmed that 3 children in our Child Sponsorship Program in our Gorkha project site have died.  53% of children in our program throughout Gorkha have been confirmed safe; our efforts to confirm the status of all children in our program is still currently ongoing.

***ORIGINAL ARTICLE BELOW***

Good Neighbors’ 110 member emergency relief team is currently on the ground in Nepal, responding to the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake on April 25th, which occurred about 80km northwest of Kathmandu.

“Tall buildings crumbled to the ground, and everywhere there were people filled with fear, crying and running frantically as they looked for safe shelter. Most of the roads in Kathmandu are closed and stores are just beginning to reopen, so this makes it extremely difficult to purchase basic supplies. People affected by the earthquake need water, food and access to safe shelter.” – Bimal Bist, Manager of Good Neighbors Nepal Emergency Relief Team

Gorkha, one of our Good Neighbors community development project sites in Nepal for more than 10 years, is near the epicenter of the earthquake, so most of the area is still isolated and inaccessible due to damaged roads. We are making efforts to reach all our project communities to confirm the safety of all our sponsored children in the area.  So far, 200 people are reported dead and 150 injured from the district.

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According to OCHA, as of April 30th, the Government of Nepal reported the following:

  • 5,582 deaths
  • 11,175 injured
  • 130,000+ homes destroyed
  • 85,856 homes damaged
  • Government premises have been badly hit
  • 10,141 destroyed buildings
  • 13,502 damaged buildings
  • 3million+ people are estimated to be in need of food assistance

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Shortly after the earthquake struck, Good Neighbors immediately set-up a situation room and established a hot line with our office in Nepal so that we could share information and make plans for relief response. Before major relief operations began, we dispatched our first emergency relief team while we installed base camps in Kathmandu and Gorkha.

Shortly after the earthquake struck, Good Neighbors International pledged to support $400,000 in aid, but increased support on April 30th to an additional $600,000, making the total $1 million.

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On April 28th and 30th, Good Neighbors distributed emergency kits (waterproof tarp, blankets and food) to 200 families in the Phinam village development committee and 200 families in Aruarubang village development committee respectively. We are also looking into ways to reach isolated areas by possibly using a helicopter or additional trucks so that we can distribute additional emergency kits.

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Good Neighbors was the first organization to distribute emergency kits in Gorkha. Currently we are preparing for another phase of distribution. On May 2nd, Good Neighbors is planning to distribute 500 sets of tarpaulins (6.5 tons), and on May 4th, a medical team from Wonju Severance Christian Hospital will be operating a mobile clinic in the northern area of Gorkha.

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Good Neighbors has designated Gorkha as a “Special Disaster Zone” and plans to focus all our relief efforts in the area. We are also planning to hold a series of meetings with the local authorities and community members for long term reconstruction for the district.

“We are focusing all our efforts to respond to areas that are most affected by the quake. Every day we are trying to reach villages that have been cut-off due to landslides and damage. Our short term plan is to continue focusing on emergency assistance. After that, we will transition to long term recovery efforts through psycho-social programs, mobile medical clinics and new shelters. – Mr. Noh Kyoung-hoo, Good Neighbors Nepal Country Director

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Timeline of Good Neighbors Activities:

Thursday 4/30:
– Good Neighbors International pledges to support an additional $600,000 for emergency relief, increasing the total support to $1 million
– Emergency kits (food, tarp and blankets) were distributed to 200 families in a village in Gorkha called Aruarubang

Wednesday 4/29:
– Met with local authorities to plan second distribution of emergency kits
– Good Neighbors dispatches third emergency response team
– Assess the safety of sponsored children in Gorkha (still ongoing).
– Successfully accessed northern part of Gorkha district
– Continue to assess safety of all sponsored children in Nepal and devastation in Kathmandu
– Confirmed the death of 1 child, 1 injured and 2 missing children from our Child Sponsorship Program

Tuesday 4/28:
– Distributed emergency kits to 200 families in Phinam, Gorkha
– Confirmed 165 children from Phinam Child Sponsorship Program are safe
– Discussed second distribution of emergency kits with local authorities
– Secured additional emergency relief supplies and trucks
– Renewed efforts to enter other communities affected by the earthquake
– Second emergency relief team dispatched from Good Neighbors International

Monday 4/27:
– Assessed damages in the Gorkha district and inspect all sponsored children
– Accessed the community of Phinam and held meetings with the local council
– Coordinated relief efforts with local authorities, military and police
– Preparations to distribute emergency kits

Sunday 4/26:
– Good Neighbors dispatches first emergency relief team
– Good Neighbors establishes base camps in Kathmandu and Gorkha
– Due to ongoing after-shocks and the damaged roads, access to communities is limited
– Met with local authorities from Gorkha about emergency relief efforts
– Acquired 400 emergency relief kits consisting of waterproof tarp, food and blankets

Saturday 4/25:
– Established an emergency situation room at Good Neighbors International
– Good Neighbors pledges $400,000 in aid for Nepal
– Good Neighbors Nepal assesses the damage and casualties of the earthquake in our project sites
– Good Neighbors Nepal participates in emergency relief meetings hosted by the Nepal government

Click to DONATE NOW to support our relief efforts in Nepal. 

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