The crops had just been harvested but were left to “dry” in the fields. People had to choose to put the one or two pieces of plastic they owned over the crops or their roof. All the water had saturated the adobe architecture – roofs leaked then collapsed. Same for the cattle sheds where the young are kept for safety – killing many. The mountains, also fully saturated, started to slide. Then huge sections gave way and blocked roads, destroyed paths and took out irrigation canals.
The goba (mayor) of Hanu Gongma was trying to move the 60+ vulnerable (old, infirmed and disabled) to safety while his own house filled with water. The goba of Achina lungba was digging out his collapsed cattle shed when I got there “beto shi zong” – his baby dzos (half cattle – half yak) had been inside and were dead.
The gompa (monastery) roof collapsed and the people felt lost without their anchor – a place to pray and be quiet in the midst of this storm. The tiny community hall; which we had worked so hard to rebuild, was filled with water and their satellite phone lay waterlogged and destroyed. No connection with the outside world and with the 12 kilometre long path to the road under dozens of landslides, little chance for a connection.
These are people struggling to rebuild from 2010 – that’s why we’re there; to help in that fight. And it is a fight with climate change; all of us here learning to adapt to our new reality. Winter is just around the corner, with the snows already down to 4000m, the road to Srinagar closed on and off, and Srinagar itself devastated, cut off and under water.
The Lungba goba took a deep breath and whispered “we will rebuild.” Both of us looked at the “path” thinking how are we going to get supplies up THAT, and road still not rebuilt since 2010?
There is no “safe” place to go – to relocate these people. I smile. “We will,” I agree.
The government is helping. You can too. 100% of donations will go directly to villagers for what they know they need. Please go over to our Donate page - you can give through the Community Foundation of Boulder County, through our partner Omprakash or in Canada, through our partner CHAI.