April 11, 2015
It has been two weeks since the earthquake shook Nepal exactly one week and a year after last years Everest disaster, dwarfing the magnitude of tragedy that we felt then. The aftershocks continued to frighten people for nearly a week causing many to sleep outside for fear of returning to their homes. This was dangerous at altitude for the elderly and very young who may have been injured. Although the Khumbu fared pretty well aside from some damaged structures, Thame is mostly flattened with 90 percent of houses there destroyed but only 2 casualties.
18 died at basecamp which included 12 Nepali.
I have had a bit of communication with Dr. Luanne Freer of Everest ER who worked three seasons as the KCC medical instructor. She returned to Nepal as soon as she heard the news and has worked the front lines of rescue teams, tending to injured. Her HRA team at basecamp tended to some seventy injuries immediately after the avalanche. The news from Langtang and Manaslu was grim as rescue workers and aid finally reached those areas. Tsering, our KCC building project manager, sent us a dispatch from Langtang where he was on a rescue team and Ang – a seasoned KCC instructor, spearheaded rescue efforts as well. I was pleased to realize that the KCC students who have gone through our ranks were using their mountain rescue and first aid skills as well as their leadership skills to help their own and other communities.
We have also been in communication with Dave Morton of Juniper Fund who was in Thame during the quake. ALCF will continue our relationship with Juniper Fund to support those who lost family members on Everest.
Board member and KCC Director Pete Athans and Liesl Clark, Magic Yeti Libraries Director, jumped in with communicating and helping to assess loss and organize aid. Our Magic Yeti Libraries suffered some damage and the Thame one was destroyed. Pete and Liesl are heading over to do a documentary within the next month or so and will be able to help organize the repairs and rebuilds.
Conrad and I spoke to Willy Benegas, Everest guide and longtime supporter of KCC, who was there during the quake. He left Nepal briefly to organize some aid for those remote areas which were being overlooked. He is returning this week to organize and pay surviving villagers in Manaslu to carry loads of food and aid supplies that were left at the end of the road or far down the valley from where they are needed. This is a good way to infuse money into the economy. ALCF has committed to support this project and will also support aid to Langtang.
Mike Auldridge, a professional builder who has worked on the earthquake safe KCC building, is headed over to Nepal for us on May 15th. Parker Webb, who interned at KCC two years ago and lived for a year in Nepal will join him. They will take stock of the KCC building project in Phortse and assess other damage to structures there. They will also transport emergency supplies.
Board member and KCC Director Steve Mock and his wife Jan are headed over to Phortse on June 5th and will also carry emergency supplies for those areas most in need.
Thanks for your continued support.