The Nepal earthquake is a terrible event, although danger is always present. Here are a few insights on the issues, and suggestions of how you might help, if you are able.
The Nepal earthquake is a terrible event, although always possible as Nepal lies in an earthquake zone where India is pushing up against the Himalayas. I have no special knowledge to add to what is already published and on the news, except to say that our friend Kirken Sherpa is safe and in India, although there is no news of many others.
Looking at the TV images from Kathmandu, there seems to be plenty of damage but plenty standing, amazingly given some of the construction techniques. Just thinking about the wiring around the city, it’s remarkable more hasn’t gone up in smoke. How liveable the buildings will be remains to be seen, and how much can be rebuilt and how quickly given Nepal’s resources is an imponderable matter for the future. The ancient temples in Durbar Square, Patan and Bhaktapur are a mess, but can be rebuilt in time.
It is becoming apparent that the hard issues will be in the villages out in the country, especially in the areas near the centre of the quake. The destruction must be considerable out here, and help will take some time to reach the areas as many are remote and only accessible on poor roads, perhaps destroyed, or by path or track from neighbouring valleys. Helicopters are likely to be crucial to the initial recovery, these valleys can be two days walk apart over 2000m high ridges.
Out here the essential resilience of the people in this remote world will be a big factor in survival and recovery. Houses combine wood and stone and can be rebuilt. Crops are generally well stored, but in the longer term the protection of the seed for planting as well as enough short term food supply will be crucial. And what of the fields and terraces? Most of the aerial photos show destroyed villages but terraces still standing. But will this be true nearer the centre and will the hillsides be stable?
The centre appears to be in Gorkha district, about half way between Kathmandu and Pokhara. It’s in the area approaching Manaslu, and next to the Langtang and Annapurna regions. Langtang has been badly affected, and the village of Dhunche, from which many treks begin, records considerable loss of life.
Syabru village, gateway to the Langtang valley
So how can you help?
A very few have the skills and knowledge to help personally, so for most of us it’s a question of donations.
The Disasters Emergency Committee is now up and running on:
and the main charities such as Oxfam, save the Children have their own funding arrangements.
For those who prefer smaller community organisations, Community Action Nepal (Doug Scott being a driving force) has an appeal on
and Exodus, the trekking company, recently sent us a link to their Nepal Earthquake Appeal page. It’s worth noting that they will match donations up to a maximum of £15k. They tell us they are in a very strong position to get funds directly into remote communities via their partner organisation - Friends of Conservation.
A range of other options can be seen at
Help if you can.