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May 05
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Update on Earthquake Relief Efforts
Earthquake Relief Efforts by Surmang Leadership

Earthquake Relief Efforts by Surmang Leadership

Lyndon Comstock of the Konchok Foundation provides the following Earthquake Relief Update Report, covering the period April 28 to May 3.

Evacuation of Jyekundo Underway

The situation in Jyekundo has now moved beyond the emergency rescue and relief efforts of the first two weeks after the April 14 earthquake. The evacuation of Jyekundo is now getting underway. Reports indicate that the entire population of the city will be evacuated before the end of May. At that time, large scale clearing of the rubble of the city, and razing of unstable structures still standing, is expected to begin.

Families have the choice so far of moving to refugee camps to the south, west, or east of Jyekundo, or else to move elsewhere such as their original home region. It’s possible that some of these refugee camps will fill up, reducing the choices then available. The government has been erecting numbers of temporary structures in the three refugee locations, however, indications are that there are not enough of these yet to use as housing and most families will be in tents for the time being.

Barley Supply and Distribution

Because all of the barley milling operations in Jyekundo were knocked out by the earthquake, there has been an ongoing severe shortage of tsampa. Tsampa, made from roasted barley flour and yak butter, is the staple of the Tibetan diet and is much heartier than the Chinese noodles on which people are primarily subsisting at present. Because the city is being evacuated, the restart of local barley milling in the Jyekundo area at scale will be quite slow.

The most significant relief effort of the past several days by the Surmang team has been an effort to bring more barley flour and butter from Xining to Jyekundo. However, the barley flour shortage has rippled up to Xining and has slowed down the purchase of the desired quantities.

Khenpo Tsering has been in Xining for the past several days. He ordered 10,000 pounds of barley flour, and so far received 5,000 pounds. This is being packaged in ten pound bags for distribution to families. While there, Khenpo has also been replenishing funds and purchasing some other supplies. Aten Rinpoche is still in Jyekundo.

Update on Konchok Relief Efforts

Prior update reports from Khenpo described the type of support work that the leadership and monks from Surmang were doing in Jyekundo during the first two weeks after the earthquake. This included participation in emergency rescue efforts as well as counseling and support for families, numerous prayer services for those who had died, and provision of supplies and emergency financial aid. As noted above, the Surmang team is still continuing to work on food supplies. Meetings with families have also continued, now at a considerably more gradual pace.

We are happy to be able to give you a financial update on the Konchok Foundation participation in the relief effort to date. Thanks to the very generous support provided for earthquake relief by many hundreds of donors to the Konchok Foundation, approximately $100,000 has now been received in earthquake relief donations!

Expenditures to Date

The Surmang team has now expended nearly $60,000 in relief funds from Konchok Foundation. About three-fourths of this was used for emergency financial aid grants to families in Jyekundo. Grants varied somewhat, from about $30 to (in a few cases) as much as $100 U.S. equivalent to a family with particularly dire needs, with an average of $50-$60 U.S. equivalent (about 400 yuan). Somewhat more than 700 extended families were given an emergency aid grant. The total number of family members in the extended families who received financial support was roughly seven thousand people.

About one-fourth of the Konchok expenditures to date were for relief supplies, principally food. An earlier update report mentioned 20,000 pounds of barley flour and yak butter that were brought in to Jyekundo by the Surmang team. Also mentioned previously was a truckload of clothing and also food that was brought in by the Surmang team. As noted above, Khenpo is presently purchasing ten thousand pounds of barley flour and will also be purchasing several thousand more pounds of butter. In addition to the nearly $15,000 of Konchok funds expended so far on supplies, Khenpo received financial donations of approximately $25,000 from other sources that were used in supply purchases.

Among the major after-effects of the Jyekundo earthquake will be a refugee situation that will persist for years. We are talking with the Surmang leadership about how we can best support those who were displaced, making use of the earthquake relief funds still available to Konchok Foundation.

The Konchok Foundation’s relief effort has naturally focused on our existing collaboration with Surmang Dutsi Til monastery. Additionally, some funding has been provided for the rebuilding of Thrangu monastery via a joint fundraising effort in Boulder. Modest funding has also been provided to the Munsel school near Jyekundo that was destroyed in the earthquake and for earthquake refugees that are being supported by the Wayen monastery in Golok.

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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