The following is a post-quake update via Matthieu Ricard, main coordinator for Karuna-Shechen, which provides education, medical and social services, care of the elderly, and assistance to individuals in need.
Karuna-Shechen is doing work for which we can all be thankful, and they plan to keep it going. You can help. Click through here for Ricard’s update, and links.
During the recent earthquake that devastated the city of Yushu (Kyerku in Tibetan) and the surrounding areas, the monks from Shechen Monastery, located under 150 km away, were among the first of many groups of Buddhist monks to join the rescue teams. The Shechen monks were able to pull out a young girl still alive from the rubble. They continue to help in the rescue efforts and to comfort the living.
Karuna-Shechen has been active in the Yushu area of Tibet for the last ten years. At Yushu itself, they are supporting a surgical clinic that treats many destitute patients. Although we are still awaiting more detailed news, the few telephone calls we were able to receive from local friends indicate that the clinic is more or less destroyed.
There are often two steps that occur after such natural catastrophes. First there is the immediate tragedy with a great number of victims in need of immediate help. This attracts much attention and donations. A few months later, the plight of the people is often forgotten by the media as well as by 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 the site, and many volunteers, including monastic communities who are traditionally well organized, have come to the rescue.
We are therefore planning to implement a “mid-term” assistance project beginning in June when our team will visit the area. We will then be able to clearly identify what needs to be done and assist a few projects that still are in need of help. We will also consider participating in the rebuilding of the surgical clinic that we have supported over the years. The Karuna-Shechen website will provide news about these projects during the summer.Donations can be made on our site. Thank you for your continued support and interest in our work.