The events over the past week have truly been devastating. We’re all feeling very fortunate that our friends and colleagues in Nepal are safe, but are acutely aware that others haven’t been as fortunate.
We have been speaking with our basecamp manager in Kathmandu, ‘Kul Prasad’ (KP) and discussing how we can best help in Nepal and agree that we will need a firm plan that outlines the best way to do so. KP has also informed us that the government along with international aid agencies have so far been doing a good job at getting emergency supplies to rural areas, providing shelter and relief.
Long Term Relief
However the issue remains that this aid while beneficial and lifesaving, is only focusing on short term, immediate relief. The biggest problem facing Nepal going forward will be the need to rebuild, in some cases whole villages – from their homes to schools and health clinics, from the ground up.
KP, along with a small team are going to visit some of the more remote villages this week in Gorkha, meeting with local leaders and village elders strategising how best our money can be spent. Thousands of people have been displaced, losing their homes and cannot afford to rebuild them, confined to sleeping in tents.
A proper plan put in place will ensure that funds end up in the right places and the people whom need it most receive it.
One area that Lost Earth Adventures and Share the Load Foundation (our not-for-profit organisation) would like to focus on is the village of Baluwa, in the heart of Gorkha District. For those that may not be aware, we along with our clients and donors have been supporting this village with small-scale projects over the last few years. To date we have provided school supplies and uniforms, offered hygiene classes and most recently, built a much needed water tank, giving access to safe drinking water.
Unfortunately, the village of Baluwa has crumbled, and the school has fallen down, in need of rebuilding. KP will be assessing the overall damage and report back to confirm whether any materials can be re-used. The estimated cost of rebuilding the school alone is approximately $10,000 USD (£6700). As the village of Beluwa has experienced widespread building damage you can see that many thousands of dollars are needed, as the average daily income is just about £2 per day in this region.
Nepal Tours and the Future
In regards to trip cancellations, the only trip we have cancelled was one that was due to arrive in Nepal the day the earthquake struck. Everyone on this trip has postponed until October/November.
We’ve been receiving ongoing updates from our teams in Nepal and we’ve also had the chance to sit down and discuss our future trips. With the information we already have, we don’t see why we wouldn’t be able to go forward with our scheduled tours. As we get more information it may be a case where slight modifications are made to the itineraries, but information we have been receiving from our colleagues, friends and people on the ground has been positive. Aid has begun to reach more remote areas, roads are being re-opened and people are re-building and getting back into the fields farming.
All of the hotels and resorts that we use in Nepal are still in good condition and while there is some damage on the trekking routes we can make slight changes to the itineraries that still get you high in the Himalaya.
Nepal’s biggest industry is tourism and in the past, no matter the situation, what has always remained is the importance that this part of their economy has on the country. The Nepalese are resilient and hard working and we do believe that regardless of the situation now, the emphasis of rebuilding and “getting back to normal” has already began and will continue to be a priority.
By visiting Nepal your tourist dollars will be an enormous help to getting the Nepali’s back on their feet. The mountains are still there, the rivers are still flowing, the people will always be kind, welcoming and gentle and the culture and spirit of the Nation remains.
Richard and a team of experts will be heading out in September to check all the buildings that we use, assess all the routes, check in with all our staff and their families and make sure that the season gets off to a great start.
Thank you for continued support and we look forward to seeing you in Nepal this autumn.
Sarah & Richard Goodey
Lost Earth Adventures