HimalayanWonders Relief Efforts Update

Thanks to everyone for their contributions and donations towards our relief work in Nepal. Together we have been able to collect over $10,000 and in the process help over 200 families including those of our trekking guides who had their homes destroyed. Here is a brief overview of how we have been putting the funds to work over the past few weeks and what the plans are going forward.

The first thing we wanted to do was help as many people as we could as fast as possible. We delivered sacks of rice to over 200 families in the small village of Tripureshwor (See the full blog post). Several of our guides live in this village and assisted us immensely in getting permission to do this and working with the local leaders to determine who was actually in the most need of assistance (the complete list of people receiving rice).

out in the Open in Tripureshwor

Living out in the Open in Tripureshwor

The second thing we wanted to do was to help some of our trekking guides and staff at the Hotel Pilgrims whom we are quite close with. Every individual who received assistance from us had their homes either entirely or almost completely destroyed. The quickest and most effective way to help was to give individual cash grants to those in need so they could quickly get back to their villages with the specific supplies they needed. A list of individuals receiving is at the bottom of this blog post (see list).

Extensive Destruction in Gorkha (Curtsey of Vlatka)

Extensive Destruction in Gorkha (Curtsey of Vlatka)

I left Kathmandu on the 17th of May to return to the United States so this marks the end of our relief efforts for the time-being. However, our crowd-raising fund is still ongoing and any remaining donations will be given to Vlatka Augustinović. I personally met Vlatka in Kathmandu and she is working alongside Shanker the owner of the Hotel Pilgrims in Thamel to help those most in need in the Gorkha district of Nepal. She has already successfully raised and distributed over $18,000 to people in need in one of the worst hit areas of Nepal. She is currently in Doha working to raise more money and plans to return to Nepal later this month or in early June (See her latest update here).

Vlatka on Previous Trip to Nepal

Vlatka on Previous Trip to Nepal

Current Situation in Nepal : Staying in Kathmandu does not give one a clear idea of the damage caused by the earthquake. Many of the small villages near the epicenter of the first quake were almost completely destroyed. These people are still very much struggling to put their lives back to together and build basic accommodation that will get them through the monsoon. Retrieving belongings and stocks of food from their demolished houses is often difficult and dangerous. Most people are still wary and scared that another big earthquake will come.

Life in Kathmandu at least was almost returning to normal before the 12th of May when it was hit by the second large earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale. This second earthquake didn’t do as much damage as the first but its size scared a lot of people and convinced them to close shops in the city and go back to sleeping in tents in open areas.

Volunteering in Nepal : I have revised my initial thoughts about volunteering in Nepal and think that those looking to volunteer in Nepal are actually better off contributing the same amount instead to an individual or team who is already in working in Nepal. What’s needed in Nepal is more supplies and material for rebuilding. Nepal has enough citizens who can help with the rebuilding – what they need most is money and supplies. While I noticed the big NGO’s raised a lot of money I saw very little of it being put to work effectively. The most effective efforts were run by numerous individuals and small groups of foreigners who already had close ties with locals. I am also impressed by the number of more prosperous Nepalese who are making real contributions even as they face financial hardships.

Trekking in Nepal : With the earthquake striking near the peak of the trekking season it was a double whammy not only in terms of the damage it caused but also due to the financial it took on the large percentage of the population involved in the tourism industry. One thing you can do to help is plan your trek in the upcoming season running from Sept to Nov, 2015.

The following individuals received direct assistance;

Pemba Rinji Sherpa & Furba Rinji Sherpa.
Solu Khumbu – Chauri kharka Village Development Community.

Gopal Thapa.
Dhading – Tripureshwor Village Development Community.

Bhumi Nandan Bohara.(Hari)
Dhading – Jaymrung Village Development Community.

Arjun Bhadur Adhaikari.
Dhading – Tripureshwor Village Development Community.

Ishwor Bhantana.
Gorkha – Asarang Village Development Community.

Karuna Subedi.

Pemba Tamang
Solu Khumbu – Chauri Kharka Village Development Community.

Bishnu Bhatta
Gorkha – Masel Village Development Community

Raju Nepali.
Gorkha – Masel Village Development Community

Once again, thanks to everyone’s efforts and contributions we were able to make a small but real difference.