When Flood Waters Rise

The flood waters have long since receded in Nepal’s Morang district, but for families whose homes were destroyed by extensive flooding in August their process of rebuilding is only just beginning.  MCC’s partner, the Brethren in Community Welfare Society (BICWS), has been reaching out to the community members it knows and loves by providing emergency food, recovering agricultural inputs, and supplying materials for rebuilding damaged homes.

On a recent trip to BICWS’s working area, we had the honor of meeting several of these families.  Life was hard even before the floods.  Homes of landless families line the narrow dirt paths between rice paddies, and most experience extensive discrimination due to their socio-economic standing.   In an area that is used to regular flooding, this year’s unusually heavy rains swept away the few positions many of these families owned: a change of clothes, a cooking pot, a few chickens.

Even so, we arrived to the sounds of laughter and play.   A bamboo swing had just been hung from a tree for Nepal’s festival season, and the entire community gathered to watch their kids smile and swing.  It makes sense that resilience is most brilliant in the hardest of places.

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Past the swings, we were lead through the small village.  A place where everyone knows everyone’s needs, including those in greatest need of all.  Many families were living in makeshift structures formed with plastic tarps provided through BICWS and MCC emergency funds.

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At the very back of the village, we were introduced to Khaili Devi Rishidev.  Khaili Devi, age 58, stood in front of the small swath of land that used to be her home. She and her extended family lost a total of 5 small houses, along with 8 goats, 15 chickens, their small kitchen garden, and the majority of their clothing and household items. Stranded in a clump of bamboo for three days without food or water until the flood waters receded, Khaili Devi was relieved to receive emergency support but remains in shock over what she describes as the worst flooding her small village has seen.

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Khaili Devi and her family are now living in a temporary structure they made out of bamboo and tarps while they prepare to rebuild their home.

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As we seek to serve with compassion – especially among the most vulnerable – in Nepal, we are deeply grateful for our partners like BICWS who reach out to their communities not only through long-term development projects, but also through being among the first responders during emergencies like these.

This year MCC responded to the flooding in southern Nepal by providing emergency food assistance and tarps to 1,290 families in Morang District (through BICWS) and Kailali District (through MCC partner Sanjal/WACT), and is currently implementing an intermediate-term recovery project among 323 families in Morang.

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You can learn more about MCC’s current global disaster responses here: https://mcc.org/learn/what/relief/disasters

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