With heavy hearts, sadness and sense of fear, Blue Diamond Society, on behalf of Nepalese sexual and gender minority communities, sends this updates on aftermath of recent devastating earthquake that hit Nepal hard.
You must have heard the news and some information already shared from our founder Sunil Babu Pant and other colleagues of BDS that LGBTI community are also equally affected if not more.
The level of devastation in Nepal is huge and much is still not known.
Even before the earthquakes, Nepal had electricity power load shading. There is now an acute electricity shortage which severely limits mobile coverage too. Since the earthquakes the BDS has been trying to contact and search for our members and staff.
We found the body of Ciatala (Kumar Bhujel), who identifies as third gender, in a teaching hospital. We reached her in time and found her. Otherwise the security force were ready to do a mass funeral of unidentified bodies. We have informed her mother in Dharan and we did a funeral at Pashupati Aryeghat today.
A member of BDS's care and support team, Jyoti Prakash KC, is still missing. We visited several hospitals in Kathamndu and are unable to find him. Moreover we have got information today that two more transgender people, Melina and Bhawani, are also missing.
The BDS's main building and its care and support building are both cracked and damaged. Friends' and colleagues' houses have collapsed. Most of LGBTI people are spending nights under some tents with the BDS banner for security and identification. There is a shortage of gas and food and the BDS has run out of food for the care and support and hospice for HIV positive LGBTI.
Around 300 trans women / metis in Kathmandu survive through sex work. They now have no way of earning money.
Many LGBTI members from Kavre, Gorkha, Dhading, Nuwakot, Kathmandu, Makwanpur, Bhaktapur, Jhapa, Saptari and several other districts have lost their homes. Relief camps are there but only for general population -- segregated facilities into binary genders, excluding THIRD gender. Even accessing toilets is a big issue for TG.
This is just a preliminary report. We will keep updating you as we get more information from the ground, especially from remote districts of Nepal.
The needs are huge and will be for many months to come. The immediate needs: tents, clothes, blankets, umbrellas, water, food and medicine, fuel for generator and BDS's vehicle for about 4 to 6 months. Its difficult to estimate the amount needed just now but we can suggest something in a week's time; however, it is going to be a significant amount in BDS terms, anything from 100,000s to a couple of million US dollars.
For longer term: funding to repair both the damaged building of BDS, rehabilitation of LGBTI who have lost their homes, and an income/job creating program to support livelihood of LGBTI, mostly for those sex workers whose income are completely stopped now.
People have been asking us how to support LGBTI people in Nepal. This request has details of the an appeal that has been launched by the Blue Diamond Society. Please forward it to your networks -- we need your support right now.
You can support by different ways. For bigger amount please send funds directly to BDS bank account.
Its details are:
Account Name: Blue Diamond Society
Account Number: 01400105200316
Swift Code: EVBLNPKA
Bank Name: Everest Bank Limited, Branch Office, Lazimpat
Physical Address: Blue Diamond Society, Dhumbarahi Height-4, Kathmandu.
Phone: +977 1 4443350, +977 1 4426652
For smaller amounts, any agency in each country can initiate collection of funds for BDS and send it later to BDS.
Thanks you for your generosity, concerns and solidarity.
The internet connection and phone lines are still sporadic, but please contact us if you need more information.
Pinky Gurung, President
Manisha Dhakal, Executive director