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Naga Bloggers reach out to fire victims in Mon

While most people in Kohima and Dimapur were busy celebrating Christmas with their near and dear ones. Young members of The Naga Blog decided to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas by setting out on a journey to help the fire victims in the two remote villages – Yakshu and Yangkhao of Mon district.
The relief campaign was completely organized on facebook by The Naga Blog with the help of Nagaland.Open.Online.BarterorSell (N.O.O.B.S.) after hearing the news on the radio that two remote villages in Mon had been burnt. Donations started pouring in from concerned bloggers in Nagaland and beyond through cash and kind. In just two days of running the online campaign, the group was able to collect cash amounting to Rs 64,200 and relief supplies consisting of about 15 huge bags of clothes, fuel, utensils, blankets etc. The relief team led by Yanpvuo Kikon, Peter Rutsa, Menuolhoulie Kire, Victor  Dzüvichü, A. Imna Longkumer, Kevitho Kera and Kevis Vizar left from Kohima on 26th Dec and set out for Mon via Wokha, Mokokchung and Tuensang carrying the supplies and cash collected from Kohima and Dimapur.
Members of The Naga Blog in Wokha led by Victor Murry, Steve Odyuo, Chonben Kikon, Ejan Ezung and others welcomed the relief team and handed over the donations in cash and kind to the convoy. Mokokchung bloggers led by Tongpang Longchar and others awaited the team till mid night in Mokokchung town and handed over the donations and joined the convoy up to Tuensang-Mokokchung border. In Tuensang, Naga bloggers led by Lino Chang, members of ENSF, Changsang Soted, Confederation of Chang Students’ Union(CCSU), Hongkin Chang, Aoyemen and others hosted the relief team at the Chang Baptist church.
The relief team set out for Tobu on 27th dec’11 where the Konyak bloggers and Konyak Students Union met with the team. From Tobu, the relief team split into two parties and headed out to the two affected villages – Yakshu and Yangkhao. The first team led by Yanpvuo Kikon, Kevis Vizar and Kevitho Kera left for Yakshu village on a mini truck and tata mobile. Their team was warmly welcomed by the student leaders led by Khole Konyak and the village council who led the team to the site for inspection. The team was informed that 24 houses had been burnt including the church office with a sound system worth 1.4 lakh, pastor’s residence, the village granary where the entire stock of about 500 tins of grains was completely destroyed, 9 pigs, poultry, domesticated animals and the only shop in the village had been burnt to ashes. The fire started unintentionally as a result of a candle when the villagers were making their decorations and preparing for their Christmas feast. On inspecting the site, the relief team was truly inspired to learn that people from neighbouring villages - men and women, young and old with their children walked all the way to Yakshu to help them rebuild the village.
On reaching Tobu Town it was learnt that only 4x4 vehicles could access Yangkhao village so the second team along with a gypsy provided by the people from Tobu left for Yangkhao. The road was extremely narrow but pliable till Thonga Village and after that the road was non existence, and the ride was risky. The Bolero driven by Imna Longkumer following Peter Rutsa’s gypsy got stuck at one point. The nearby Villagers along with the escort Gypsy dug out the Bolero and proceeded on with much difficulty and finally reached Yangkhao village. The Villagers led by the pastor, chairman, and student leader, VDB secretary and villagers of Yankhao gave the team a warm welcome. They interacted with the villagers at the residence of the chairman and proceeded to the site. It was learnt that the villagers not only lost their belonging but their granaries had been burnt down and nothing could be saved as the fire they did not have enough time and resources.
It was learnt all essential provision were procured in Tobu Town and brought to the Village on foot, which takes them about 3 hours (One way). The team also learnt that the sick were hand carried because even if a vehicle was available, the patient would die because of the jerking and discomfort. The people in Yangkhao had no electricity or sanitized drinking water or even emergency medical provisions. They were completely dependent on what was available on their soil. Almost all the mountains surrounding the villages have been burnt down because they practice Jhum cultivation. Later the team was told that they have paddy fields, which was a real surprise. When inquired it was learnt that many years ago an Angami man had come to their village and thought them paddy cultivation and utilization of their water source.
The villagers in both Yakshu and Yangkhao hosted the teams with a superb dinner followed by a prayer meeting. After which, the team handed over the relief materials and cash of Rs 30,000 each to both the affected villages and the relief team began their nightmare drive back through the treacherous roads to Kohima via Longleng, Mokokchung and Wokha.
This is not the first time that Naga bloggers have been involved in social causes. The facebook groups – “The Naga Blog” and “Nagaland.Open.Online.Barter or Sell (N.O.O.B.S.)” have constantly proven the power of online social networking with their earlier campaigns as well by raising Rs. 1.59 Lakh in 3 days last September for the Sikkim earthquake relief and also helping the Burma Camp fire victims in Dimapur through relief supplies donated by bloggers. For those unaware of what The Naga Blog is, The Naga Blog is a forum on facebook with over 9600 members and growing rapidly by the hour. It is an open platform where new generation Nagas and non-nagas from around the world network, share ideas and voice their opinions to build a better Nagaland for themselves and the coming generations.
(The Naga Blog was  created in 2007 by  Yanpvuo Kikon. This  column in the Morung  Express will be a weekly  feature  every Saturday)