The Sri Lankan government has approved a proposal to support the re-construction of a Buddhist Monastery and a Hindu Temple damaged in the recent earthquake in Nepal.
This request was placed by the Foreign Minister of Nepal. IBC Secretary General Ven. Lama Lobzang recently visited Kathmandu.
An IBC Nepal Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Committee has been set up to co-ordinate efforts by the IBC members worldwide for providing all kinds of assistance for the people of Nepal.
The IBC Nepal chapter will be the implementing agency. The committee will consist of three key members of IBC: His Eminence Phakchok Rinpoche, Vice President; Ven. Khenpo Chimed, member of the Governing Council and its Working Group; and Ms. Ang Dawa Sherpa, Honorary Secretary and member, Working Group of the Governing Council.
IBC Nepal is represented on the Committee by three members–Ven. Phupu Chhembe Sherpa (aka Ven. Thubten Jikdol), President, Nepal Buddhist Federation; Ven. Dharma Murti, Vice President, All Nepal Bhikkhu Federation; and Prof. Dr. Nareshaman Vajracharya, President, Nepal Traditional Buddhist Association. There are also other representatives from the three traditions– Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana–making it a 10-member group. Among the first group of IBC members to send relief material were our members from Malaysia who sent a container with 1,000 tents immediately to Ms. Shakun Sherchan, Buddhist Peoples’ Rights Forum, Nepal.
More containers are expected soon. In the same spirit of extending all physical and material support, IBC Vice President, Ven. Thich Quang Ba, Founding Abbott, Van Hanh Monastery, and Sakyamuni Buddhist Centre of Australia led a nine-member delegation of Vietnamese monks and nuns from New Zealand and Australia to Nepal from June 9 to 15. The Quake Relief Mission brought gifts and funds from lay Buddhist community, which were distributed among around 3,000 severely affected families in the 10 most destroyed districts of Nepal.
IBC Secretary General Ven. Lama Lobzang joined the group in Kathmandu to co-ordinate the works and for supervising the setting up of committees. Describing the scenes of devastation, he said, “I was shocked to see frightened people all around. Destruction apart, there was a total breakdown of the human spirit when confronted by such phenomena of nature.
Though the buildings were standing, but the structures had become very weak, and the people were extremely frightened to go inside their homes. With one slight tremor the entire building would fall apart. Everyone was sleeping outdoors or inside tents at night. These structures have to be brought down and built anew,” he said. “I was told that at one place around 500-600 people had died. There was not a single person to perform the last rites. There were machines digging up and around 4050 people were being moved by machines and buried in these huge pits. There was no manpower to physically bury them. This left me stunned and speechless. I have never heard of this kind of destruction and human loss,” he added. On the relief front, he said massive amounts of relief were pouring into the country but mostly in Kathmandu.
However, the far flung remote areas, especially those that are inaccessible had been left out. IBC is targeting remote areas for support and relief work through its local members. The relief material was based on reports sent by IBC members in Nepal after studying the requirement. Local logistics support is being provided by Ven. Khenpo Chimed and monks from the Shanti Vihara. Ven. Lama Lobzang called on the Ambassador of Nepal in India, His Excellency Mr. Deep Kumar Upadhyay, in New Delhi on June 8, 2015.
They discussed relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in Nepal by IBC and its member organizations. The Ambassador suggested that IBC members should henceforth contribute money instead of material since the cost of transporting the material can be enormous and, therefore, a waste under the present circumstance.
He said that the Government of Nepal is shortly going to announce what kind of contribution is required for reconstruction and rehabilitation. Further, the Nepalese government will soon be holding an expo in Kathmandu where various agencies and companies will display construction materials, including prefab material.
He suggested that IBC Nepal should depute a team to visit the expo and see for itself the availability of materials and the cost involved per unit. This could then be communicated to all member organizations with the request that they contribute money towards specific reconstruction projects.