I visited Kathmandu this past year to tour the HMF’s clinics and to get a firsthand look at the devastation sustained from the April 2015 earthquake. It was quite sad to tour this ancient city and see the destruction that has occurred. I was left with quite a few sobering impressions. While many of the more newly built office and commercial buildings in Kathmandu were left intact from the earthquake, countless centuries old shrines, temples, monasteries and UNESCO World Heritage sites were destroyed or structurally so damaged that they could no longer be used for worship and meditation. Reconstruction will take decades since the damage caused by the earthquake in Nepal has been extensive.
Even at this time there are thousands of Nepali and Tibetan people still living in tents enduring the monsoon season as well as the colder winter months. The amount of work needed to rebuild is immense and so far the Nepali Government has proven once again to be extremely dysfunctional. In order to receive reconstruction funds from foreign governments and international aid organizations, the Nepali government first had to finalize their Constitution which has been close to 15 years in the making. Hastily prepared, it marginalized several major Nepali ethnic groups that live near the Indian border resulting in riots and demonstrations. In addition Prime Minister Modhi of India was very disgruntled that the new Constitution did not declare Nepal a Hindu state. To show his displeasure, he placed an embargo on all goods traveling from India to Nepal for close to 9 months. This prevented most relief organizations from providing aid to the areas most needed and added even more misery to a population that had lived through so much hardship and sorrow. Petrol, propane gas for cooking, food, medicines and the most basic commodities needed for living were sorely missing. The streets were almost deserted which temporarily helped with the chronic air pollution but the vehicle lines at gas stations extended for over 2 miles in some parts of the city. Motorists would wait for days to receive a mere ½ a gallon of gasoline and over time a thriving “black market” sprang up with mark-ups of over 300%. The most essential commodities for living were hard to obtain and with so many businesses destroyed and nonfunctional it was very challenging for the people of Nepal to get through this difficult time.
Five of the seven monasteries that contain HMF clinics sustained major damage. Particularly the main shrine halls at Osel Ling, Benchen, Nagi Gompa and Ka-Nying were severely damaged. Many of the monks/nuns had to live in tents or move to other monasteries. As a result of their lives being so disrupted, our clinics have seen a large increase in dysentery, impetigo, scalp fungal infections, as well as tuberculosis.
On a brighter note, during this most difficult time, due to your generous donations, the HMF was able to set up emergency medical camps as well as maintain the smooth running of our seven clinics. We are delighted that we were also able to expand our medical and dental staff. With the addition of a radiology technician, another health assistant, a dental hygienist and a registered nurse the HMF has been able to considerably increase its services. We are particularly happy to welcome to our staff our first full time dentist, Dr. Karma Dolma Lama, the daughter of Dr. Chhiring Lama. She received her Dentistry Degree in Poland and brings her much needed skills to our permanent dental facility at the Benchen Free Clinic as well as to various monasteries and villages to provide free dental care to all who need it. The HMF purchased a portable dental unit which makes it possible for her to travel to areas where there are no dental services available.
After nearly 25 years of operation the HMF received enough funding to purchase a low mileage used Korean automobile. This makes it much easier to travel the bumpy roads of the Kathmandu Valley, transport medications to the HMF clinics as well as spare the HMF’s Country Director’s Dr. Chhiring Lamas “aging” back.
The following photos and captions tell the story of the HMF’s work this past year.
Your generous donations have allowed the HMF to serve the population of the Kathmandu Valley for almost 25 years.
While the earthquake has severely affected the Kathmandu Valley and many rural areas of Nepal, I am quite pleased at the HMF’s ability to respond to this crisis by not only keeping its clinics open and running but by expanding its staff and services as well.
Your kind support is even more needed and greatly appreciated. The HMF is a 501c 3 nonprofit organization and all donations are tax deductable.
Please make a donation via Paypal at our website: www.himalayanmedicalfoundation.org or make out a check to HMF and send it to 608 Portside Ct., Lafayette CO, 80026
Thank you for all of your help and support over all these years.
Dr.Gregory Rabold, Founder and Medical Director HMF (photo on file of Dr Rabold)
608 Portside Ct., Lafayette, CO 80026
Phone: 720 387 8087