02 September 2010
Posted in Emergency news
Four Weeks On …
17h00 London time, Thursday 2nd September 2010
The disaster occurred during the night of 5th-6th August: four weeks ago. All classes are now functioning again at Druk White Lotus School – some in recently cleaned classrooms, others in tents and dormitories. Staff managed to salvage some furniture, but a huge amount remains to be done to provide furniture, learning materials and equipment to restore the school to a fully functional level.
The challenge is acute because all materials and supplies required from Delhi or elsewhere in India will need to be ordered and delivered by truck before the only main road becomes blocked by snow, probably around the end of October. Air connections between Delhi and Leh generally continue throughout the winter, but air transport is too costly for heavy items. Once the main road closes, it will probably not re-open until May 2011.
Oxfam staff are kindly helping in various ways. They have installed temporary latrines on the campus because the school’s own latrines are still filled with mud, as well as running workshops on topics such as hygiene.
The school has so far admitted 17 new residential students displaced by the floods and mud. Some are orphans or semi-orphans, while others are from families who have lost their homes or their property.
Telephone landlines have not yet been restored in the area and so there is still no school phone or internet connection. A satellite connection is being installed on the campus thanks to a donor from the United States, in order to facilitate basic communications with the school’s partners and support groups.
Work continues on the clean-up of the external spaces around the campus, with continuing assistance from HCC (Hindustan Construction Company).
A team of three engineering experts from Arup in London is preparing to come to Shey from mid-September to check the structural integrity and safety of the school buildings and infrastructure, and to understand how and why the mudslide occurred and scope preventive measures to ensure the impact of any future event will be minimised.
JCB India is kindly donating a mechanical digger to help with future works.