Help our dear friends in Nepal!
Himalayan High Treks and Dharma Journeys based in San Francisco, Ca have facilitated hundreds of peoples' visits to the magical world of NEPAL. For over 25 years, our Nepali staff, all great human beings, have assisted us in more ways than you can imagine. People including brothers Amber Tamang and Karna Tamang (KB), Bhim Pakhrin, Sushma Tamang, Ang Furi Sherpa, Ambar "Saila" Tamang and many many others have been kind and remarkable caregivers to all of our travelers. They and their communities now need our help.
The April 25th Nepal earthquake and its aftershocks have damaged or completely destroyed entire villages, homes, schools, clinics, libraries. Everyone we know, their families, neighbors and the greater Nepali community need our love and support.
In addition to the immediate crisis in Nepal (lack of food, water, medical aid and shelter), the tourism industry has ground to a halt. This means that there is no income being generated in these communities.
We are fundraising to send the long-term support that's needed to help Nepalis rebuild their lives.
Our goal is $108,000. Himalayan High Treks and Dharma Journeys will manage the HHTnepalfund. We will take tremendous care when spending the money; we will make every possible effort to have each dollar be used for the most possible benefit. We already have $3000 pledged to this relief effort. You may contribute at www.gofundme.com/HHTnepalfund . Write checks to Himalayan High Treks and send to 241 Dolores Street, San Francisco, CA 94103.
We are relying on our staff in Nepal to tell us what their needs are, right now we don't have specifics due to the crisis, as we know more details we will update everyone.
What we do know is our assistance will focus on long-term needs such as rebuilding homes, schools, and libraries. It may also include direct assistance for urgent needs such as vacating children or providing temporary housing.
Please partner with us in our relief efforts and make a difference in the lives of those most affected by the 2015 Nepal earthquake... those living and working in this wondrous but devastated country.
Information arrives slowly from our staff throughout the region. We will update you with our news as it becomes available. For the moment, your prayers and thoughts are most important. If you can contribute to the HHTnepalfund, many lives will be touched by your generosity. Thank you for your many calls and messages of concern — please know that these messages of love and hope are being sent on to those who can really use this support and kindness.
April 27, 2015
Information about us:
Himalayan High Treks
Dharma Journeys Pilgriamages
What We Know Now:
- Karna Tamang's (KB's) update from Everest Base Camp: 18 people have died and many have been injured. Base Camp was partly washed away by a huge avalanche from Mt. Pumori. He and three members of his team survived by taking shelter below a rock. Helicopters are coming in now and rescuing some of the injured climbers.
Video of Avalanche
- Ang Furi Sherpa is trekking in the Everest region. We know he and his group are okay as he called his wife in Kathmandu after the quake — but that is all we know right now. The airport at Lukla is now open and trekkers are slowly returning to Kathmandu. Many villages throughout the region are completely destroyed.
- Ambar "Saila" Tamang and his family are okay but their apartment was completely destroyed and they are trying to figure out where to go.
- Bhim Pakhrin and his family are reported OK and his home is intact. They have water and food for now. No one could reach him for about 36 hours after the quake, finally at 4 AM on Monday (Nepal time) he advised us online.
- Amber Tamang and family (parents, wife, daughter, cousins, siblings) are reported OK but are camped outside their home as they can't return inside. They have no water or electricity and had lost mobile phone coverage for about 24 hours.
- Kopan Monastery sustained great damage to their buildings, but no one was injured. They too are all camping outside without electricity but are using a generator to pump water as long as fuel is available.
- Langtang Village: Langtang Village has been buried by a series of avalanches, which have also cut off lower elevations from Kyanjin Gompa. A group of 28 is currently stranded there, including a baby with two broken legs. Some with life threatening injuries have been air–lifted out, but helicopter activity is directed mostly to Mount Everest area rescues. The Lama Hotel remains standing and people have gathered there and helicopters are slowly beginning rescue efforts. Some are stranded at the Ganesh View Hotel. No word yet on evacuation there.
Some words from our friends in Nepal:
From Amber Tamang:
"We spend the night praying, feeling one after another [shocks]. Thanks again for all of your support and concern...Thank you all ...."
"Last night was quite worse. Raining and continually felt earthquakes till 7am this morning.
We are safe and fine but had quite the time. But comparing many others we are ok. We still out in the open place and I need to find new place to stay. I am
not sure if we can take out our stuff from my flat. Situation still not stable. So probably today also we are staying out too.
We really appreciated your thoughts praying for us. Thank you so much. We really need your support and prayers...thank you Ambar and family"
Today marks a year from the first earthquake in Nepal on April 25, 2016. Much has been done and much remains to be done but for us at Himalayan High Treks, we think it is time to get back to what we do best, arranging treks and travel!
The U.S. State Department travel warning, which was issued for Nepal on October 8, 2015 has been cancelled. The warning was issued for geological instability in Nepal following the Gorkha Earthquake, the monsoon season, unrest in Tarai, and country-wide fuel shortages.
These conditions have changed and now it is really time to go! Please make a note of our email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and contact us when you are ready to plan your adventure!
And thank you so much for your help.
Effie Fletcher and all of us at Himalayan High Treks
April 25, 2016
Namaste! It has now been just over six months since the first earthquake hit Nepal and exactly six months since we first started this fundraising effort. Our Nepal Fund has accomplished so much! The most amazing thing is the reconstruction of the Lumsa Village Gompa including a new roof. Fortunately this total repair could be done with a small budget as our staff and the villagers were able to use most of the stones, about half of the wood and many of the windows from the previous building. Labor was volunteered. About 400 local families use this building not just for religious purposes but as a community center.
We've also been able to contribute towards the purchase of school supplies in Lumsa and other places and pay wages to some of our staff who have been helping in earthquake relief. In addition we made one time payments to all our staff including those who are retired who suffered loss of property and/or income due to the earthquake.
When my daughter, Asha, and I chose to go to Nepal in August, we brought over tents and other supplies bought with the fund to replace what was lost in the earthquake. It was a great opportunity to connect with our staff and a chance for us to get the word out that Nepal is safe and ready for people to come visit.
There are many more projects awaiting our help. For example, we'd like to set up a training for trekking staff in Wilderness First Aid and assist in the purchase of solar lighting for some villages in Solukhumbu (lower Everest region). Please feel free to contact me with any questions. And yes, we are still accepting donations.
Thank you so very much!
Oct. 27, 2015
It has been over a month since the earthquake first struck, yet there is still a lot of work to be done. Nepal is a resilient country with a brave, hardworking people. They've always been there for us, and now in their time of need many many people have stepped up to help them. Thank you so much for all you've done already!
We are executing relief efforts on many fronts, including distributing aid to small isolated villages, to people that other organizations haven't yet reached. We've been focused on providing temporary shelters for people to keep them out of the rain. We've distributed hundreds of tarps and tents. Our biggest achievement to date may be the creation of a temporary school in remote Dhikure village at 9000 ft. Made from five extra tall 10 X10 dinning tents plus tarps to give increased protection for heavy monsoon rains, the school can accommodate 35 students total plus their instructors. (See picture above and note the collapsed building in the background). This photo encapsulates the stage of relief that we are still in, which is getting basic needs met.
Updates from our people on the ground in Nepal:
From Venerable Katy Cole on her way to Lawudo:
"Effie and Amber thank you so very much for the kitchen tent, tarp and rope for Lawudo Gompa Project! It will be going up by helicopter in a few days. Much love to you both and to Himalayan High Treks !!"
From HHT staff member Lok Tamang:
He reached Maili Village where he distributed 50 tarps on 23 May. He had traveled from Kathamndu to Dhap (near Tapting) and spend the night. Five villagers came to help carry tarps to the village on foot. Maili village is near Pikey Peak of Lower Everest Region between Okhaldhunga and Solukhumbu districts. Because it's a small and not very significant place there was dispute whether it's in Solukhumbu or Okhaldhunga for years and their land ownership documents, etc were never properly issued. As a result the government officials pay little attention.. Neighboring village of Jilu is even smaller and near the jungle where only few families life. It was a moving experience, distributing the tarps as some people were close to tears as no other help has reached them.
Updates from June:
- SWAYAMBHUNATH - The evening of earthquake someone told me that Swayambhunath was gone; because I can see the stupa from my home, I looked immediately to see, and felt relieved that it was (and is) still standing there!! Today, through a friend I had chance to reach summit of Swayambhunath hill (actually hoping that some of us could be of help, to volunteer) What I saw was the sad devastation the earthquake has given to us. Most houses including both historic monasteries are mostly damaged! Tourists and general visitors are 'banned' to reach on the summit. My shaken mind managed my hands to stable enough to take few photos. Sadly due to lack of coordination and some other things we couldn't volunteer there. We hope that our government and concerned authorities will be able to safeguard all the important objects, and we also hope organizations like UNESCO be more active and serious to monitor the preservation and revival of the monuments to their original form.
- Schools reopened in Kathmandu after 36 days of closing due to the earthquake. This shy and anxious photo is of Furwa Sherpa (see below) this morning as she heads to her school nearby. She studies at grade 9 in a government school here. She lives downstairs on ground floor of my office building where her aunt has Sherpa tea shop. Furwa does her homework and studies on tables when her aunt has no custumers for tea, noodles or momos. Those who have tasted lemon tea at my office should know that most occasions it was Furwa that brought it. She is not only a hard working girl at her aunt's tea shop, but I heard she is a good student too.
Updates from May:
- I wanted to post some positive facts related to earthquake disaster and it's situation afterwards. Today is I think the third day that we had very few aftershocks. We have to believe in our own experiences, the fact of what happens after big earthquake and the trend of such disaster in the past. Nepal is earthquake prone zone but the trend is big one happens only in a while at least 70-80 years time. So we should be safe.
-Nepal has 75 districts and only about 15 districts are damaged, some are more are damaged then others, minor level but the rest of the country is fine. Entire southern part of Nepal known as Terai – the food basket of the country is fine. And probably 40% people live there. Nepal has five development zones (like states) out of which only the central development zone is damaged badly. Far west, east and middle west are almost untouched. The undamaged part of Nepal could somehow lift and repair the damaged part of Nepal if we had people, a leader, a system willing to. But being poor country and lacking so many factors we are just shouting for help from the international community.
- All of Nepal's airports are functioning and all the roads are in operation including a dirt road that links Kathmandu with Barpak the epicenter of the April 25th earthquake. We believe at least tarps have reached each family (in that area) to make waterproof shelters, if not comfortable at least it covers them while it rains. There are international organizations claiming to build this many thousand houses or that many thousand shelters. Nepal is not a country where people die of starvation. Most of the hospitals are not only functioning but are undamaged. The medical system is as good as before the earthquake. Which is great news.
-What's worrying is that many schools have lost their buildings and they need temporary shelters until the government builds new ones.
- Another very alarming situation is the lack of tourism, of course people prefer not to travel to an earthquake zone. Because of the earthquake tens of thousands of people became instantly jobless.
- However, all the guesthouses in Thamel are not only safe, but they are undamaged and will be safe. All the 5 star hotel are over 60% booked, mostly by volunteer and aid workers. We are starting to come back to normal, despite the lack of government efficiency. I would give average or below average mark to the Nepali government but I still feel that the speed of recovery is OK by Nepali standards.
- I have so many things to say, life in roller-coaster and for me may slow down once I reach my home in Lumsa to see my dad. I am not going there to distribute relief material. I want to see the village, my family and home, and want to be away from Kathmandu for a few days. As internet will be limited there wanted to give this positive note to you all. We are so fortunate to have all good people, good neighbor countries and being a tourist country a lot of kind heart tourists helping helping helping praying praying praying. Thanks for all that.
AFTER VISITING LUMSA
- Lumsa village – A 150 monastery, (one of the oldest in the area) was completely damaged by both earthquakes. After the fourth week of the disaster people of the village gathered to protect the deities and important historical artifacts and built a tented hut for keeping them safe. We helped move all the statues to temporary site, to keep them safe.
As you may know yesterday Nepal suffered another terrifying earthquake, which according to the USGS, registered at 7.3. The current death toll is 76. This earthquake was centered near Namche Bazaar (Mount Everest region). All of our staff and their families are safe as are the people at Kopan and Lawudo. However Lawudo Gompa which was damaged before has now collapsed, and many buildings that we thought were spared have now become damaged or collapsed, including two schools that we previously reported as being safe.
A dire situation just got worse, and more importantly the fear has returned, as the aftershocks continue and everyone worries now about yet another large earthquake. Experts say the aftershocks could continue for weeks or even months. And unfortunately a U.S. helicopter has disappeared while delivering aid.
On a brighter note, Venerable Katy who has been on many of our pilgrimages is headed to Nepal. She will be going to Lawudo to help in the recovery efforts and taking some supplies (a large tent, tarps and rope) from us to Lama Zopa Rinpoche's sister there. And Venerable Robina Courtin is still going to Nepal to teach her course on Death and Dying at Kopan Monastary May 21-31. Contact Ven. Fran at email@example.com for more information.
Updates from our staff in Nepal:
May 13: Sad to inform that Jana Priya school in Solnasa (Tapting) was damaged by yesterday's quake. At least two rooms not usable and those not collapsed are also not good. Likewise the primary school at Dhimil also got damaged.
May 12: Sushma Tamang, Ambar Saila, Arun, and Rita didi visited Rasuwa Nuwokot Shanti Bazaar camp, where more than 300 people are staying. They found out the needs of the pregnant women and mothers with newborns, so they could distribute relief materials. Sushma didi said, "Feeling happy to give them some small help, we were with them for the big earthquake of yesterday afternoon. Thank you Effie didi and all the HHT clients and team for the support."
May 10: LANGTANG ACCIDENT MORE UPDATES: The Tamang center's executive member Purna B. Tamang (Kaku, Solukhumbu) is missing in Langtang along with three other Tamang staff also from our area along with their three clients. Today we had a meeting to discuss how we could help their families. The update from rescue effort in Langtang is unbelievably sad as there were several bodies discovered yesterday and then another avalanche buried the bodies again. Those who want to help can't get there as the only way is via helicopter. The entire valley/village is covered by glacier, rocks and sand. Rescue efforts have also been very difficult due to bad weather. Writing this post I can hear heavy thunder and lightening outside. People can't believe what's wrong with weather which seems like rainy season in the middle of spring.
May 9: Today Sushma and Amber went to Sindhupalchok Pakhara –a village near the road to Jiri (one of the starting points for the trek to Everest Base Camp) to deliver 80 tarps from HHT staff fund. Bamjan Family in Kathmandu arranged as many mattresses and Upkar Kalyan Cooperative had provided 80 boxes of instant noodle for entire village. Our friend Kshetra delivered food, tarps and other help together with other friends in different part of Sindhupalchok. Likewise, we have sent 70 Tarps to Jagare Village of Nuwakot where some of our older HHT retired staff comes from. There is another village we have discovered to send about 60 tarps and then we will conclude the tarp distribution project. Afterwards Amber Tamang plans to go to our village of Tapting in Solukhumbu.
Here is the thank you note we received:
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We received 70 tarps this afternoon. Ram is going to buy some food and he will ask some guys to carry them to the village. Thanks again for your support.
Pinky Titung (daughter of Ram Lama retired HHT manager)
And an article in the Adventure Travel News about our relief efforts:
With your help we will keep the help coming in to Nepal. Amber Tamang has already made plans to rebuild the school in Tapting with a temporary bamboo structure to get them through the rainy season. We will update you again soon.
May 13, 2015