Effects of the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal continue. The 8,000-plus deceased are still mourned; and, most of the crumbled homes, holy places and historical monuments remain razed. While worldwide aid has been noteworthy much of the assistance has been slow in reaching its destination. Unlike this slow-to-arrive aid, the money raised by the Himalayan High Treks' Nepal Relief Fund moved from our bank to the hands of trusted on-the-ground Nepali men and women in a matter of days. Materials were purchased and immediately transported to isolated villages making it possible to build temporary shelters against the fast approaching 2015 monsoon season.
While much, much more needs to be done, HHT has decided to close its Nepal Relief Fund at the end of May. HHT Founder and Director Effie Fletcher will turn her focus back to the business' main objective of bringing more tourists to Nepal through its treks and tours. Fletcher says, “This, in the long-run, will benefit Nepalis the most as it will bring back their livelihoods.”
- Truckloads of food, tarps and ground pads were unloaded at distribution points and made their way into isolated areas via foot carried by local villagers; for many it was the first aid they received.
- Purchasing and distributing tarps, tents, ropes and food were our top priorities. Getting community gathering places replaced or rebuilt was second. Of these, the creation of a temporary school in the remote Dhikure Village was very satisfying. Another major achievement was the reconstruction of the Lumsa Village Gompa including a new roof. About 400 local families use the building for religious purposes and as a community gathering center. Fortunately, this could be done with a small budget as our staff and the villagers were able to use much of the materials from the previous building; labor was volunteered.
- We've also been able to purchase school supplies and distribute them in Lumsa and other places and to pay wages to some of our staff who have been helping in earthquake relief. In addition, we made a one-time emergency payment to all our staff (including those who are retired) who had suffered loss of property and/or income due to the earthquake.
To make a donation by the end of May go to: www.gofundme.com/HHTnepalfund. Or, make out a check to Himalayan High Treks and send: HHT, 241 Dolores ST, San Francisco, CA 94103