Monday, April 19, 2010

Scenes from the forest around Anandaban after the fire

The distant picture is of Anandaban’s mountain a couple days after the fire of Sunday April 11th. The dark areas are burned forest where the fire raked uphill. Anandaban hospital is obscured in the pine forest to the left of the burn zone. A farmer’s fire lost control and raced up hill, fueled by the carpet of dry pine needles in the forest. Hundreds of villagers alongside the army and police came to fight the fire to protect the hospital. Water is not something there is a lot of on a hilltop. It is pre-monsoon, and water supply is limited even in the valley. People tore leafy branches from trees to beat at the flames. Some new guests who came to volunteer arrived from the UK during the fire. They texted their home church to pray. At a critical junction point when the fire bordered Anandaban’s uphill road, the wind changed direction and blew the flames back into the burn zone away from the hospital. No one was hurt and the hospital was not harmed. Only the mainline phone wires from the tower uphill were destroyed.  Of course, someone saw a leopard fleeing.