Mid-term help for Yushu earthquake victims

By Matthieu Ricard on April 22, 2010

During the recent earthquake which affected the city of Yushu (Kyerku in Tibetan) and the surrounding areas, the monks from our Shechen monastery, located under 150 km away, were among the first of many groups of Buddhist monks who joined the other rescue teams. In particular, the Shechen monks were able to pull off alive a young girl from the rubbles.

Our association, Karuna-Shechen, has been active in the area for the last 10 years. At Yushu itself, we have been supporting a surgical clinic that is taking care of many destitute patients. Although we are still awaiting more detailed news, a few conversations we had with local friends indicate that the clinic has been more or less destroyed.

In many such natural catastrophes, two dramas usually occur: first the immediate tragedy, with a great number of victims in need of immediate help. A few months later, the plight of the people is often forgotten by the medias and aid agencies dedicated to urgent interventions.

In Yushu, the Chinese government has intervened quickly and quite efficiently, a number of foreign NGOs are at work on site, and great numbers of volunteers, including monastic communities, who are traditionally well organized, have come to the rescue.

We are therefore planning a mid-term assistance when our collaborators will visit the area next June. We will then identify a few projects to assist some of those who will still be greatly in need of help. We will also consider participating in the rebuilding of the surgical clinic that we have been supporting so far.

The Karuna-Shechen website will provide news about these projects during the summer.