First of all, I know it’s been a very long time since I last posted. There’s any number of reasons for this but the most recent is of course the catastrophic “7.8-magnitude quake” which struck Nepal one week ago on April 25th with devastating results. I was in Kathmandu when the earthquake struck as well as for the aftershocks and the ensuing aftermath. For the last week the focus has been on staying safe, communicating just enough so that everyone knew I was safe and then working to help alleviate some of the hardship & suffering being felt right now by the wonderful people of Nepal. I will endeavour to write posts to fill in on my activities over the past few days and my feelings & response to the quake itself. However, for the first time in a week I find myself with just enough energy and brain cells functioning to string together a coherent sentence (more or less!?) plus I have positive news worth sharing;
Here is the update I just posted on my Facebook page with further information below; “In 24 hours, from a standing start, a group of individuals including Willemijn Van Kol, Bruno Deceukelier, Nima D Lama & many many others (whom I cannot link to on Facebook) arranged a preliminary aid mission to a remote part of Dhading district hard hit by the earthquake and cut off from aid by a landslide. Work included assessment of the situation on the ground despite limited communication, mission planning, volunteer recruitment, preparation, briefing & dispatch, crowd funding, purchasing supplies, securing transport, coordinating with other individual groups & NGOs working on the same area and many other tasks besides. The original cry for help came via an injured local from the community airlifted to Kathmandu after the earthquake for treatment who went ahead this morning to successfully arrange clearance from local government officials. The amazing Nepali and International volunteers plus equipment were reunited in the nearest town Dhading Besi this afternoon and were met by villagers who came to meet them, help them and reiterate the urgent need for basic supplies. Tomorrow morning (all going to plan) they will commence all together the 1 day journey by foot climbing steeply up to the first area and then continue another half day up to the final community. Delivering emergency shelter, food & medicine, assessing the community needs to provide vital data and even confirming GPS coordinates for coordinating possible further helicopter deliveries.
It is simply amazing what can be done when so many passionate, dedicated people work together. I have been extremely privileged over the past few days to witness such depth of strengths & skills in my friends as well as the bravery & passion of strangers who from now onwards I believe are also my friends. Now, let’s get wave two moving…”
I have just spoken to the volunteers now getting ready in Dhading Besi to start their trek with supplies tomorrow morning. They’re Nepalis from the local area, from Kathmandu and international backpackers all of whom have joined this 5 day mission to get aid out to those who need it. They spoke of an amazing sense of community as local people from different rural communities as well as international volunteers work together to share the supplies, labour and persuasion of local officials required to get things moving. Fingers crossed that everything goes according to plan over the next few days (when the going will be tough and the mobile phone coverage limited) & that everyone’s efforts really make a difference.
Finally, I am not the only one writing about this particular mission. Please check out the post of my fellow volunteer Bruno on his blog with lots more details and info about his day in general. These are also Bruno’s photos which, whilst horribly cringeworthy to take do hopefully help us show that this is real!