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Nepal Diaries

Journey of ‘The Earthquake Relief Centralised Kitchen Project,’ Nepal

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This initiative was aimed to contribute towards bringing relief and hope to the people affected by the massive earthquake here in Nepal.

The Journey (Scroll down to begin)

17 September 2015 – The journey ends

On 17 September the Earthquake Relief Centralised Kitchen set up under the aegis of Tata Trusts and their associates Sipradian Sahayata Sanstha, and facilitated by The Akshaya Patra Foundation, served its last meal. The kitchen was closed as planned on this day, after a fulfilling journey spanning 88 days of operation and serving 1.4 million meals. This has truly been a rewarding and unforgettable experience for all involved at The Akshaya Patra Foundation.

21 August 2015 – A million meals

The Nepal kitchen crossed the production and distribution of its millionth meal! The kitchen continues serving nutritious food to camps still running in the area.

18 July 2015 – The journey continues

At the end of one month the Earthquake Relief Centralised Kitchen in Nepal served 441,632 meals to the beneficiaries in the region. The kitchen’s reach has now grown to providing over 17,000 meals across 17 camps in and around Bhaktapur every day. With the continued support of Tata Trusts, Sipradian Sahayata Sanstha and the Government of Nepal, the kitchen is expected to remain in operations for the next three to five months at least.

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23 June 2015 – Providing nutrition and employment

Once again preparations have been on to serve wholesome meals to 5,500 people in the morning and evening each. When the crew arrives at the kitchen in the morning the food has already been filled into the vessels to deliver on time to the camps in the region. On the menu today is rice, dal (pulses), with a gourd and beans sabji (vegetable).

Before leaving to follow the delivery vehicles to a camp, the crew meets Tek Bahadur Bhandari, his wife Tika Maya Bhandari and their third daughter Anita. Tek and Tika have three sons and four daughters. They migrated to Bhaktapur, and were in search of work. Now by working in the kitchen they are able to support their family. It’s heartwarming to know that the kitchen is not just providing nutritious food to those in need, but also providing employment in the region.

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Tek and his family

The crew visits the camp at Byasi, near Bhaktapur, in the evening. This camp houses about 450 people who stay in the makeshift shelters. The big tents hold about four or five families each, while the smaller ones hold one family.Here Sunar Prajapati, camp-in-charge says, “The food is sufficient and helpful. No we don’t have to struggle to cook anything anymore.”

An interesting feature of the camp is that it also has a playschool which cares for eighty children.

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A group of children enjoying the meal

22 June 2015 – Life goes on

Relief measures continue in Bhaktapur as the morning meal is prepared for 5,500 people. The menu for the morning meal consists of rice, dal, with a carrot and bean sabji (vegetable). The first van leaves the kitchen at 6.30am, and the last van at 8.30am to deliver the fresh food on time to the camps.

Following one of the delivery vans takes our team to the Kamal Vinayak (Garund Kunde) camp, the same one we visited yesterday. We watch as people gather quickly to get their meals. Mothers are accompanied by their little children who are curious about the activity at the camp. Today the residents recognise us, and open up to us about their experience.

A mother at the camp says, “If the food arrives on time, I won’t have to worry about my children food before school…yes, now the schools have reopened and they are going back to school.”

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Fresh food getting distributed to the camp residents

As the community accepts us amongst them, we get an opportunity to get a glimpse into their lives at the camp.

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An elderly lady having her morning meal in her tent

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A family enjoying the meal in their tent. They have managed to salvage some of their belongings from the disaster.

Back in the kitchen preparations have been on to cook the evening meal, which is completed by 4.00pm. The menu for this meal is rice, dal and cabbage sabji.

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Cooked food in containers ready for delivery

Howeve, in order to avoid wasting excess food, we have decided to distribute food to new areas around Bhaktapur. We follow the delivery vehicles to a new location that houses about 200 families.

As the food is being served at the new location, a young resident of the locality Vishnu Prajapati tells us, “No one has delivered any food to this community so far, this is the first time it’s happening. This will make not a small change but a big one. The children here are going back to schools after a long break because of the earthquake and this food will certainly help them too.”

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People come together to find out what is happening

Believing that these meals will help bring some stability to the region after days of instability, we take leave of this community.

21 June 2015 – Ensuring food for all

Cooking starts long before the sun rises to make sure the food is delivered on time to the 5,500 people waiting in the camps. On the menu for the morning meal is rice, dal and potato sabji (vegetable). To feed so many hungry people 1,700 kilograms of rice, 1,200 litres of dal (pulses) and 780 kilograms of potato vegetabl is prepared.

The delivery team reaches Kamal Vinayak (Garund Kunde) camp, which is providing shelter to about 500 people from Tocha, Bhaktapur. Here Romila, a concerned citizen says, “Their houses are destroyed, they have lost everything, so taking care for their food both morning and evening…they don’t have to worry about that, I think this is good job you guys are doing.”

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Waiting in line to get the fresh morning meal (Kamal Vinayak)

At the relief camp in Maheswari, Sabin Khyaju, Secretary of the Management Committee of Maheswari says, “The relief camp is home to around 800 people whose houses and most of their belongings have been destroyed including cooking utensils, so even if they have raw ingredients they are unable to cook. The delivery of the cooked food at the location has created a social and communal event. The people came out in numbers to receive their rations required for their families and they take that time to talk to each other and strengthen their bond amongst the people.”

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A girl coming back to her tent after getting her morning meal

The menu for the evening meal is rice, dal, beans and potato sabji (vegetable), to feed 5,500 people

20 June 2015 – Food served to 5,500 people

On the 20th of June the first morning meal was prepared for 5,500 people. It took approximately 2 tons of rice, 220 kilograms of dal, 70 kilograms of tomatoes, 140 kilograms of potatoes, 30 kilograms of spices and other condiments and masala. The cooking measurements are taken after feedback on requirement from SSS, which will gradually climb up to the targeted figure.

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Preparation of morning meals

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Food being delivered and served at a relief camp

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Families enjoy their healthy morning meals at a relief camp

The kitchen has the capacity to cook about 10,000 meals in an hour with a maximum capacity of cooking 100,000 meals a day. The kitchen will serve the beneficiaries in and around Kathmandu for the next six months and continue if need be.

19 June 2015 – Kitchen is ready and serving begins

Assessing the amount of work, the kitchen is looking to start operating on 21st June. The dedication and devotion to the humanitarian effort stirred the staff on and the kitchen is ready on mid-day 19th June. After two hours of quality assessment and cleaning the first evening meals were cooked to serve 1,100 people in an area called Bode, one of the eleven regions identified to be delivered cooked meals every day.

The people accommodated in makeshift shelters at Bode came from the worst hit area of Sindhulpal Chowk. Madan, the camp coordinator of Bode said, “Despite all the things that have happened we will come up from this. The relief kitchen initiative has also given us the strength to look forward.”

Bhelukhel, Maheswari, Jella, Garun Kund, Kamal Binayak, Thulo Bayasee, Bayasee, Bode, Thali, Gokarneswar and Bhugmati are the eleven regions in and around Kathmandu identified by the initiative to be delivered cooked food every day.

The relief kitchen is set to cook two meals a day, where all the locations except Bhugmati will receive morning meals; the numbers of meals for each place vary according to need. The kitchen will cook around 7,192 morning meals and 8,192 evening meals each day, and will be delivered using vehicles provided by Sipradian Sahayata Sanstha.

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Kitchen almost ready for operation

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Cooking begins

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 Food being unloaded from the cauldrons

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 Loading the food on the delivery vehicle

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Fresh cooked food distributed in the evening at a camp in Bode, one of the eleven areas identified to be served

18 June 2015 – Last truck reaches Bhaktapur and installation process begins

On 18th June, the last vehicle reached Bhaktapur. It brought a cauldron, boiler and other related accessories to get the kitchen ready.

The kitchen is built on an area of approximately 2,500 sq. feet with vessels storage and washing area adjoined. This temporary centralised kitchen is expected to cook approximately 10,000 meals a day, and is equipped with three cauldrons of 600 litres capacity to cook rice, and one cauldron of 1,200 litre capacity to cook dal, as well as other machines to assist in the food preparation process like cutting, peeling and grinding vegetables.

15 June 2015
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A man standing on what is left of his house looking over what is left outside

 14 June 2015
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While some are engrossed at work, some are busy in a game of chess somewhere in Nepal

12 June 2015

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Work in progress at the kitchen site

10 June 2015 – Trucks arrive at Bhaktapur, new kitchen location is identified

The first batch of trucks arrived on 10th June, 2015. Once the equipment and materials are unloaded, work of setting up the kitchen takes a brisk pace towards completion. Meanwhile the location of the kitchen has been changed to a new site as the earlier is deemed unsuitable. The new kitchen is located at Subakamana Party Palace, Suryabinayak Chowk, Bhaktapur.

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Materials arrive at the new kitchen site in Bhaktapur

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Setting the kitchen up

9 June 2015
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A student preparing for exam in a deserted school which now serves a home to him

 8 June 2015

 

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A mother getting her children ready for school

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A deserted classroom

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While classes are conducted in temporary classrooms outside

7 June 2015
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Innocence is intact, despite the debris!

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Clean up initiative underway in Nepal

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People trying to rebuild and salvage

5 June 2015
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Makeshift shelters accommodating survivors in Nepal

28 May 2015

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Materials essential to run the kitchen loaded on a truck in Lucknow

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One of the trucks packed with materials leave for destination Kathmandu

27th May – Aggregation and dispatch of Materials

On 27th May, overseen by the Akshaya Patra operations team, various installation materials are aggregated and packed in Bengaluru, Pune, Valsad and Lucknow; to be shipped to Nepal.

By end-May, 2015 two trucks from Bengaluru carrying heavy kitchen equipment like cauldrons as well as food products with a long shelf life that are not available in Nepal like spices and tamarind juice left for Nepal. The vehicle from Pune carried a Thermax boiler, while the truck from Valsad carried a small boiler and other required material. The Lucknow truck carried vessels, crates and pallets, and galvanized iron boxes amongst other items.

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Packed materials ready for shipment

28th April – Communication from Prime Minister’s Office

On 28th April Akshaya Patra receives communication from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to assist the earthquake survivors in Nepal. Akshaya Patra prepares 100,000 meals in its Jaipur kitchen on 29th April which is transported to Delhi and then airlifted to Nepal. On 30th April Akshaya Patra sends an additional 2,500 kilograms of emergency food aid to the region.

Meanwhile, on 29th April, Akshaya Patra operations team meets with Principal Secretary, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and prepares a Plan of Action to set up an open kitchen facility to provide meals to the people displaced due to the earthquake.

In the next few days, a joint committee comprising of nominees from Tata Trust, Akshaya Patra and Sipradian Sahayata Sanstha (SSS) conducted a need analysis and found that thousands of people in and around Kathmandu are in dire need of food, water and shelter.

A joint initiative by The Akshaya Patra Foundation, Jamsetji Tata Trust and Sipradian Sahayata Sanstha is taken up to set up an earthquake relief centralised kitchen in Bhaktapur.

Akshaya Patra presents a comprehensive plan for setting up of kitchen working with Jamsetji Tata Trust and Sipradian Sahayata Sanstha, mapping out the kitchen structure, material requirement, budget and responsibilities of each party.

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25th April 2015 – Nepal Earthquake

The earthquake on the 25th April and the tremors after claim lives of more than 8,800 people; injure over 23,000 and displace millions across Nepal.

2 Comments

  1. I am from Nepal. I live in Bode (place where food prepared in your kitchen comes on daily basis) Though I don’t belong to the group of people that you serve food, It is really astonishing just by looking at the works that are being conducted by this organisation. It is really great and heartmelting to know about your work in Nepal. I would really want to volunteer in your further work in Nepal, If possible. And lastly Just salute n thanks for the initiative food serving program conducted in Nepal.

    1. Hi Kishor,

      Thank you so much for your support. We are exploring the possibility of you volunteering at the Nepal kitchen. We’ll get back to you on this shortly. In the meantime do check out our latest series of posts featuring an interview with our Chief Projects Officer on his experience facilitating the setup of the kitchen.

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