Tuesday, May 26, 2015

NASO supports Relief Operations for Earthquake Victims in Nepal!

With the devastating earthquake on April 25, 2015, Nepal Astronomical Society (NASO) started supporting relief operations at different parts of Nepal in order to provide necessary food, shelter, water, health and sanitation, etc in Sindhupalchok, Rasuwa, Nuwakot, Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur. Our team provided rice, lentils, salts, oils, noodles, biscuits, black mats (insulator), blankets and tarpaulins to different villages at Nawalpur, Sindhupalchok; Dandagaon, Rasuwa (handovered to Nepal Army at Trishuli Hydropower as the situation was tensed and we were not able to go to Dandagaon due to landslides) ; Archale, Nuwakot; Sankhu and Kirtipur, Kathmandu and Taumadi, Bhaktapur.

Photo 1: Mr. Suresh Bhattarai, Chairman giving instruction for the volunteers for unloading the relief supports to Dandagaon, Rasuwa at distribution center, Santibazaar, Nuwakot.

NASO, in collaboration with Cygnus Aerial Photography, Bangladesh and in association with Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), Department of Geography at Tribhuvan University (TU), Department of Archeology of Government of Nepal conducted aerial survey of different damaged areas at four districts: Kathmandu (Kirtipur, Gangagu, Jamal, Sankhu), Bhaktapur ( Taumadi), Lalitpur (Bungamati) and Nuwakot (Manakamana VDC). 

Below is the short clip produced from our UAV operations at different location giving you some overview of the damage in Nepal:

We had meeting with Prof. Dr. Hira Bahadur Maharjan, Vice-Chancellor at Tribhuvan University and highlighted the importance UAV for rescue, survey, mapping, planning, etc. We also stressed that the university must have drones/UAV at its different departments and train faculties and students for UAV operation.
Photo 2: Mr. Bhattarai sharing the idea of National Drone Operation Workshop during a meeting organized at Kirtipur Hillside Hotel in association with Department of Geography.

We shared our intention of organizing National Level Drone Operation Workshop 2015 in collaboration with Cygnus Aerial Photography and other International partners to different national stakeholders: NAST, TU, Civil Aviation Authority Nepal (CAAN), Ministry of Science and Technology and Ministry of Defense. Our proposal was highly praised and every stakeholders agreed to participate in the workshop [Details will be available soon].

Photo 3: Our team after the meeting with Mr. Mahendra Singh Rawal, officiating Director General (second from left) at Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN)

Photo 4: Our team after the meeting with Dr. Shova Kanta Lamichhane (second from left), Executive Director at B.P. Koirala Memorial Planetarium, Observatory and Science Museum Development Board, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of Nepal. Dr. Lamichhane is a member of Space Committee of Nepal.
Photo 5: Our team during a meeting with Rishi Shah, Academician at Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST). Er. Shah is a member of Space Committee of Nepal.

We also started a crowdfunding campaign to support people of Sindhupalchok, the most affected district by the earthquake, on April 30 with a target of 50,000 USD. The campaign is live now until June 13, 2015 and we hope to raise substantial amount to support. As people are not desperate need for food  and they have somehow recovering from the trauma and building their temporary shelters by now (it's been a month since the disaster), we decided to work for schools of the affected areas. The fund raised from this campaign will be spend on supporting schools in construct their temporary shelters, to maintain their partially damaged building, building toilets, stationeries, etc. 

On May 25, 2015, Mr. Suresh Bhattarai, our chairman signed MoU with Mr. Dil Nath Puri, Head of District Education Office Sindhupalchok for our support to build temporary classrooms for schools at Nawalpur VDC. For time being, we have choosen only three schools, Nawalpur Secondary School (485 students), Sidhhartha Primary School (~100 students) and Takure Primary School ( ~100) and working on the module that last at least for 2 years. The Government of Nepal (GoN) has estimated that it will take two years to draft the code of conduct for the schools infrastructures in order to avoid potential damage if another big earthquake hits Nepal in future.

We are very grateful to all the extending hands to our initiative to support people in need and look forward for your continuous support in coming days as Nepal takes time to recover and rebuild. Certainly, as education is one our mandate to work in Nepal, we are doing our best to supports schools and look forward to support more schools in coming days. We think with all your support and encouragement and great involvement of Nepalese youths, we will be able to work together to rebuild Nepal after this devastation.

To support our crowdfunding campaign, please click here.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Nepal Earthquake Drone Aerial Operations in collaboration with Cygnus Aerial Photography-Bangladesh!

Nepal Astronomical Society (NASO) in collaboration with Cygnus Aerial Photography, Bangladesh has completed surveying areas affected by the earthquake of 7.9 M on April 25, 2015. The operation was carried out in order to send a strong message to our government that we must embrace this technology in order to monitor disaster in our country. Our sincere thanks goes to Er. Rishi Shah, Academician at Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) and Prof. Dr. Hira Bahadur Maharjan, Vice-Chancellor at Tribhuvan University for supporting our initiative to voice to bring this technology in Nepal. 

The operation was carried out at Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur and Nuwakot in order to have wide spectra of destruction due to the earthquake and how we can incorporate this UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle). During our visit we provided locals with relief supports as well.

Here is a small video depicting our work at different locations of Nepal produced by our collaborator: Cygnus Aerial.

We are continuously working on different aspects on helping our community whenever/however possible with all the supporting hands! Lets work together, lets help together!

We are currently working on the workshop on this technology in Nepal which will be held soon in Kathmandu in order to voice the need of such technology and encouraging our people to use it for surveying, research and rescue  in Nepal.

We would like to thank Naimul Opu, UAV Operator at Cygnus Aerial Photography who has been a very good friend of us on astronomy to extend his hands for our space science activities in Nepal. We are also thankful to officials at Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, Ministry of Science and Technology Nepal, Ministry of Information and Communication Nepal and Security Council of Nepal to listen us and realizing the importance of UAV technology in Nepal.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Crowd Funding Campaign 'Help Earthquake Survivors in Sindhupalchok'

April 25, 2015:

11:50 AM:: People were doing here and there at this Nawalpur Bazaar. Some people were busy for training and some with their regular Saturday business
11:58 AM::All the houses of this bazaar fell down expect the one standing in the middle and you can only hear people crying looking for their loved one, people looking for help inside the ruins of the houses!
Photo 1: One of the building at Nawalpur Bazaar after the great earthquake on April 25, 2015
We, Nepal Astronomical Society (NASO), saddened by the suffering of the people of Sindhupalchok which is the most affected region of Nepal due to the massive earthquake that took place place on Saturday, April 25, 2015 which collapsed more than 95 % houses over there along with highest number of death toll in Nepal. We hope by now, everyone is aware of the devastation in Nepal due to the earthquake. It's been six days since the devastation started with hundreds of aftershocks to damage remaining houses increasing number of homeless people in the district! Apart from that, the rain, bad weather, crowd of victims are acting as catalyst for the water and air borne diseases in the affected areas. Moreover, the scarcity of even the most common medicines, water purifiers and tents are worsening the situation.
Photo 2: People moving passing through the ruins of Nawalpur Bazaar to their temporary shelter.

Though thousands of houses collapsed during the quake, people relatively managed to escape to the open field to save their live. Now the question is how long they sustain in the open field under the open sky with no roof over their heads.

***Support our crowd funding campaign***

We would like to request our friends of astronomical community to support us to help these people in need.

Thank you very much for your support in advance!