We are finally here! Our national contact person, Bipulji, has given us the best welcoming and has prepared an eventful program for our first week at Nepal Red Cross Headquarter in Kathmandu. We have been introduced to many interesting and distinguished People; staff at the office, the Secretary General of Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS), Security Officer of the Red Cross Federation and ICRCs Head of Delegation in Nepal. We have also met three former youth delegates previously deployed in Norway, who are back in Nepal working for the Red Cross as employees and volunteers. Thanks to all these welcoming people and their descriptions, our insight into the work and culture of Nepal is expanding.
Nepal is a diverse and rich country with a population of 26 million. The cast system is still at large and visible, expressing intricate notions of social position and purity. NRCS are working with implementation of the Red Cross fundamental principles and IHL (International Humanitarian Law) in all communities and ethnic groups. Overall, the country holds 126 different ethnic groups and have 123 different mother tongues.
In the afternoons, Prabha is teaching us Nepali with great enthusiasm.
The earthquake Nepal experienced in April and May this year is still a central concern in the work of the Red Cross, and the impact of the disaster is reflected in the people we meet. The response and recovery work of NRCS and the cooperation they have with the IFRC and ICRC is impressive. One of the largest departments of the NRCS is the Disaster and Risk Management Department, also working with preparedness and risk reduction. Other challenges they face on a more regular basis are floods and landslides, especially during and right after the Monsoon season. In addition poor road safety causes 12.000 casualties every year.
These days, the Terai – the southern belt of Nepal, is on everyone’s lips. The ethnic groups of the south are fighting for a common domain and state along the Indian border. The situation has intensified this past month due to negotiations of the upcoming constitution. 29 casualties are so far registered and the government has imposed curfews in some of the districts. We are following the developments and will be waiting in Kathmandu for the unrest to settle.
While dreaming of Sunsari…
Lise & Liv