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Apr 20
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Thousands of Monks in Jyekundo for Quake Relief Efforts
Ceremonies for the earthquake victims in Jyekundo, courtesy of Alertnet

Ceremonies for the earthquake victims in Jyekundo, courtesy of Alertnet

By Lyndon Comstock

Khenpo Tsering reported that there are now five or six thousand monks in Jyekundo helping with the relief efforts. Although most of them have been involved in digging for survivors or the bodies of the dead until now, or in distributing food, the digging is tapering off. Very few survivors are being found now and most of the remaining dead are too deeply buried under rubble to be dug out by hand. Pujas for the dead are now being done in several places in Jyekundo where there are large clear areas. There are large numbers of monks participating in these and they have helped to create an appropriate environment by lighting large numbers of butter lamps.

More than a thousand monks are in Jyekundo from Serta Monastery alone. Serta, in Golok, has been the largest monastery in Tibet in recent years. The Surmang Dutsi Til leadership has close ties to Serta and knows many of the teachers and monks there. Trungpa XII Rinpoche has been studying there in recent years. Khenpo Tsering studied there for years under His Eminence Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche and received his Khenpo degree there. The Serta leadership has also decided that providing direct financial assistance to families in Jyekundo is an excellent plan. For the past two days a team of Serta monks have been distributing 400 yuan ($50 or so U.S. equivalent) to every family in Jyekundo. Khenpo Tsering is very pleased about this.

As mentioned in previous reports, Aten Rinpoche and Khenpo Tsering are very focused on trying to help the families in Jyekundo who are in the most dire straits. They have already given support to two hundred families connected with Surmang and, in the last several days, an additional one hundred to two hundred families.

The Surmang leadership has now come up with a new method of locating the families who most need help. The Surmang team has friends in Jyekundo who are from other rural areas in the general vicinity of Jyekundo, comparable to Surmang. Jyekundo residents who are from these rural areas are usually the poorest people to begin with, many of them having recently been nomads. Khenpo and Aten Rinpoche’s friends will identify the families with the greatest needs and arrange for them to meet with the Surmang group and receive support. People from the rural areas of Arshu, Vhidrak, and Bojam (these are phonetic spelling guesses) will be helped first, starting today.

The overall relief situation in Jyekundo is mixed. Substantial amounts of food and bottled water arrived into the city yesterday but the distribution of it was very uneven, with some families receiving a lot and some very little. There has not been much sign of clothing distribution but many families are digging in the ruins of their houses to see what they can salvage and quite a number have recovered some clothing. However, there are still many people who need coats.

There were four fairly strong earthquake aftershocks yesterday.

I was able to report to Khenpo that there was a large turnout in Boulder of both Shambhala sangha and the local Tibetan community to practice for the earthquake victims, receive update reports, and donate for earthquake relief. He was very pleased to hear this.

How can I help?
Donations may be made to Konchok Foundation for earthquake relief.
Read more news and updates on the earthquake.

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