EARTHQUAKE NEWS UPDATE Wednesday 6th May, Day 11
FUNDRAISING: £100,000 now raised
Doug is delighted to report that CAN’s Earthquake Appeal is now on its way to a first million.
Well over £100,000 has now been donated during the first ten days of the Appeal and approximately a further £100,000 has been promised.
Many thanks to everyone who has donated to the appeal – to all the individuals, organisations and businesses who are currently fundraising for CAN with their own collections and events.
LANGTANG: Temporary camps for survivors in Kathmandu
CAN’s nurses in Kathmandu are now working along side western and other local medics at Swayambhunath Temple in KTM where 200 survivors from Langtang are living in a temporary camp. It is now confirmed that at least 400 people lost there lives in Langtang valley.
Hayley Saul is an archaeologist who has worked with CAN on gompa restoration in the Langtang. She managed to ‘outrun’ the landslides and avalanches in the Langtang valley as she ran for her life as the quake struck.
As soon as she arrived in Kathmandu she set up a JustGiving Page called ‘Langtang Survivors Fund’ and have been working hard to get people to donate since. So far the total stands at $40,000 AUS ($31,364 US), but she haven’t finished collecting yet! Sadly the 500 year old gompa is buried under thousand of tons of avalanche and landslide debris.
MELAMCHIGAUN: Helicopters needed for transport
Although the CAN porter team made one successful trek to the village with food and medical supplies, further aftershocks, and continuing rock fall and landslides have made the paths too dangerous to follow at present. The government have managed to helicopter supplies into Melamchi yesterday.
Doug has now spoken with school Headmaster Purna Gautam on the phone. Purna confirms that every single building in Melamchi has been flattened by the quake, including the infrastructure around Guru Rimpoche’s cave.
Corin Hardcastle (a UK teacher who volunteers at the school and was in the village when the quake hit) is now back in Kathmandu. Corin is very keen to get the school reopened as soon as possible and is leading an initiative to purchase 12 marquees to use as classrooms and get the school reopened on 1st June. He is liasising with Murari Gautam in CAN’s KTM office – CAN will be able to purchase the marquees at ‘local rates’. The demand for marquees is, of course, very high at the moment.
NORTH GHORKA: Health Posts due to be checked
As previously mentioned Tej and Anil CAN’s Overseers have been directing the rebuilding of Bihi/Prok Health Posts – a previously planned project.
We hope to send a helicopter full of supplies and then bring them out of the area so they can check on their own families and give a full report to all the five Health Posts in North Ghorka that CAN manages as well as the condition of the school at Lihi which CAN has built and an assessment of the needs of the local villagers. The paths below Bihi to the road-head is too dangerous to walk at present, hence the helicopter.
KHUMBU : Porter Rescue Shelters and Khumjung
Sherpa Heritgage House in Khumjung. This Heritage Museum has been badly damaged and although not no.1 priority at the moment, CAN will assist in administering any rebuilding efforts in the future.
Pertmeba Sherpa is returning to his ancestoral home in Khumjung to assess the damage to the Heritage House and will also visit Machermo and Gokyo Porter Rescue shelters that CAN built and IPPG run to further assess damage.
CAN’s big UK event this year on 24th Sept at the RGS in London’ Everest 40th Anniversary Lecture’ will now be a special fundraiser to repair these porter rescue shelters. Let’s fill the hall! Sir Chris Bonington, Doug, Tut Braithwaite and more of this legendary team will be speaking! Also over from Australia will be DR. Jim Duff one of the two doctors on the SW Face climb and who went on to set up IPPG.
ROWALING : School tragically demolished by quake during opening ceremony
A new school was completely demolished by the earthquake is in the village of Simigaon, Rowaling. The whole village, including three westerners who had raised the money for the school over the previous two years were standing outside waiting to cut the ribbon to enter the new school, just 12 minutes to the event, when the school completely collapsed in front of their eyes.
The village itself is damaged but fortunately people living in the village were only slightly injured.
Report came from Dr. Paul Nicholson, a former IPPG doctor, who has worked at Machermo in the past.
AN INTERESTING VIEW ON THE USE (ABUSE?) OF HELICOPTERS ON EVEREST
Alan Arnette, a prominent Everest blogger and one of the guided clients rescued on Monday 27th April, clarified the situation of that day: “The stories of ‘climbers stranded’ in the Western Cwm are simply untrue or a matter of exaggeration. We were the highest team on Everest at Camp 2. Others were below us at Camp 1. All had sufficient food, fuel, water, and shelter to survive for days.”
So why did an estimated one-fifth of all the helicopters in Nepal spend Monday and part of Tuesday shuttling climbers, who faced no immediate danger, off Everest?
“They’re following the money,” says Mark Richey, a world-class mountaineer from Massachusetts who climbed Everest in 1991 and is the former president of the American Alpine Club and great friend of Doug Scott’s and CAN “A lot of these guys are private operators. But they’re not just being greedy, they are obligated. When the climbers called in the rescue, [those helicopter operators] are obligated to go pick them up.”
Carrying rescue insurance is mandatory for climbers on Everest. The obligations to rescue climbers are passed down through a cloudy and confusing network of insurance companies, rescue-service providers, and middlemen who facilitate making it all happen. Most American climbers, for example, might be covered through a standard annual membership with the American Alpine Club, which provides up to $5,000 of coverage under Global Rescue, a service that works with a network of local companies and individuals around the world to get its members out of bad situations.
“It’s not that rescue insurance or rescue services are a bad thing,” Richey says, “but it’s wrong when they’re abused, especially when it diverts vital resources like helicopters from saving real lives elsewhere. ”