As you are aware, on Saturday morning a 7.9 magnitude quake struck central Nepal. The full impact of the earthquake is yet to be ascertained, but preliminary reports suggest that more than 2,000 people have been killed and that there has been widespread damage to infrastructure and buildings. This is the worst earthquake to hit the region for more than 80 years. It is a very sad day for Nepal and our thoughts are with the families and friends of those who have been affected.
The Trust has a number of projects in areas hit by the earthquake. We have been in close contact with people on the ground and have been receiving updates as to the extent of the damage. At present, the Trust understands that:
– There have been no reported Trust related casualties;
– There has been significant damage to personal property and infrastructure (for example, we are aware that Rati, one of our new trainers has lost her house and Pushkar, a REED director, has lost his hotel that he had spent three years building; assessments of other Trust properties are ongoing); and,
– Large numbers of people are sleeping outside again tonight as they fear further shocks. Early reports indicate that hospitals are stretched and are struggling to cope with the number of injured.
The Trust will continue to monitor the situation, especially in Khumbu and in Taplejung where we have been working. Information is currently limited given the state of internal communication lines within Nepal and we expect that it will be some days before we learn the true extent of the damage.
Rescue missions are on-going and aid material is arriving but further aftershocks are hampering the efforts. We are working with partners in the region to see what can be done to help in the short term. Our Chairman will be visiting the region next week to assess the damage and ascertain how the Trust can best assist. The aim will be to develop a comprehensive and bespoke response to ensure that the Trust can deploy its assets in an optimal manner to support those who are affected.
To this end, the Trust has set up an Earthquake Disaster Fund and donations can be made via the Trust’s website www.himalayantrust.co.uk/donate.
We thank you very much for any support that you can give. Though our focus will always remain on long term education and health provision for the communities where we work, we believe that we have been successful in responding in a focussed way to recent natural disasters. Examples of the Trust’s responses are as follows:
2011: Re-building schools in the aftermath of the Taplejung earthquake.
2014: Providing educational support for the children of the Sherpas who lost their lives after the Everest avalanche.
2015: On-going emergency assistance to Taplejung families who lost their houses in the recent fire in Fungling.
Consistent with the ethos of the Trust any money used will be targeted on “bottom up”, specific local issues that are not being addressed by the larger government or aid agency programmes. We want to be additive on a “micro” basis to complement the larger scale effort, not duplicate them.
The Trust will also be providing updates and news from the region on Twitter (follow @Himalayan_HTUK) using #HTUKEarthquakeAppeal and #NepalEarthquake.
We hope that you will support the Trust in doing what it can to help Nepal at this time of need.
Thank you all in advance for your continued support.
The Himalayan Trust UK