Photos by KUNDA DIXIT
Large parts of Nepal are hard to reach at the best of times, but after the 25 April earthquake and its aftermath, terrain has become the most challenging obstacle to get urgent relief supplies to the communities in the 15 mountainous districts.
The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP), which is involved in emergency food in wars and disasters around the world, is in charge of logistics to deliver tents, roofting material, food, medicines and basic supplies to far-flung villages in Dolakha, Sindhupalchok, Rasuwa, Nuwakot and Dhading districts.
WFP doesn’t just transport its own food, but also supports up to 60 partner organisations by providing helicopters to lift the material to remote areas without road access. WFP works out of two main base camps in Chautara in Sindhupalchok and Abu Khaireni in Gorkha. It has a fleet of five MI8 helicopters and some smaller Ecuriels for villages on steep slopes where the big ones cannot land.
WFP is also employing hundreds of trekking porters, mule trains and mountaineers to repair trails and get to even more remote areas where helicopters cannot go because of monsoon weather and blocked roads.
Corrugated sheets loaded onto the belly of one of five MI8 helicopters that fly relief supplies to remote villages .
Three tons of corrugated roofing material is loaded on to an MI8 in Gorkha for transport to villages to the north near the epicentre .
The WFP logistics base camp at Abu Khaireni from where supplies are flown out in up to six flights a day to villages in northern Gorkha.
A helicopter loaded with supplies approaches for a landing at Philim in northern Gorkha which has been cut off because landslides after the quake wiped out even foot trails.
Richard Ragan of and Sushmita Maskey of WFP lend a hand to unload the zinc sheets in Philim.
Roofing and other supplies await transportation by porters and mules to settlements higher up the mountain.
The village of Ripchet in Tsum Valley is almost completely destroyed.
The main village of Chhekampar in Tsum Valley looks deserted.
The village of Uhiya clings precariously to a slope mauled by landslides triggered by the 25 April quake.
This trail on the Manaslu Circuit is heavily damaged by landslides.
Laprak village has got relief supplies, and survivors are living out in the open in tents.
A WFP official plots out the next day’s delivery flights on a map in the base at Abu Khaireni.
Richard Ragan and Chunu Shrestha of WFP at a warehouse in the logistics base in Chautara of Sindhupalchok.
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