August 17 2010

Tibetan SOS Children's Villages help in Leh-Ladakh

17/08/2010 - Tsewang Yeshi, the President of SOS Children's Villages for Tibetans with its head office in Dharamsala, tells us about the current situation of the children's village in Leh-Ladakh, which is situated on the river Indus, and very near to areas affected by flooding. The village, the second largest worldwide with 34 family houses (the largest one is in Dharamsala), is 7 km from the town of Leh in the Ladakh region of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. He explains how the village is reaching out to those in the community who have been affected.

"Despite the wide scale of catastrophe, fortunately, we are very happy to inform you that no major damage or loss is reported from our children's village. Except for some minor damages to some of the buildings, all children and co-workers are safe. Although the cloud burst was widespread over the region and the consequent flash flood left a trail of devastation on a massive scale, with the Leh area hardest hit, the children's village was very lucky to remain largely unaffected. We must thank the providence for this miracle ….to escape unscathed!

Photo: SOS Archives
The school of SOS Children's Village Leh-Ladakh serves as temporary shelter - Photo: SOS Archives
The small children’s village hospital is filled with over 50 affected people for emergency medical treatment. Similarly, our school hall is packed with other victims of the flash flood for relief and temporary shelter. In the vicinity of the SOS Children’s Village, around 70 houses have been destroyed or damaged badly in two Tibetan camps. Our co-workers and senior students are fully involved and doing the best they can in the relief operations.

Communication with Ladakh is still very difficult. We only hope the weather will hold well, and not go worse, as reports of uncertainty still hang heavy in the air. Reports indicate urgent relief measures for immediate medical treatment, food and blanket, and temporary shelter, not to mention the long drawn rehabilitation task ahead for the affected families. For the proper organisation and coordination of relief efforts, from the Tibetan side, the Home Department of our exile Government is overseeing it with a local committee formed. Our children’s village director is a member of this committee."