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Climbers' Nepal Earthquake Update: Thoughts From the Ground

Posted: Jun 05, 2015 08:51 pm EDT

(Newsdesk) The World Food Programme is the largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, providing food for more than 80 million people in 75 countries. 


"As part of WFP’s Operation Mountain Express, self-sufficient mountaineers use their skills and training to reach earthquake survivors in some of Nepal’s toughest mountain terrain, areas that helicopters and trucks can’t reach," says WFP's blog.



Those mountaineers are Bowie's team who reported this week that the climbers are organizing trail repair simultaneously with food delivery to the highest regions of Nepal.


WFP says the climbers are assessing needs and obstacles such as landslides, then relaying these details via satellite phone back to WFP’s operations team, who can get relief items to the right place in the right amount. 


The actual distribution takes place with a combination of hired local porters (who get a much needed salary on top) and donkeys. Bowie hopes his team will be able to gain access into all villages of the Gorkha district before monsoon season begins. "These villages aren’t accessible by road and many of them don’t have suitable places for a helicopter to land," Bowie dispatched recently.  




Back home, Adrian Hayes did a very direct and poignant closing debrief of his own experience. WFP and Bowie's collaboration is  fruitful but few of the biggest aid organizations have asked for help (except monitary) while reports from climbers on the ground showed that surprisingly little aid (mainly tarp and tents) actually reached villages off the main track. This situation is similar to that reported by climbers in the Pakistan EQ some years ago. 


Hayes lists the usual suspects: general incompetence, "I do question the need of 20 or 30 soldiers or police being located in small villages purely to secure one or two aid drops a day rather than being tasked on demolition work, patrolling and assistance to remote settlements or other useful tasks that could be added" - but more so politics and corruption on local as well as international levels.


Hayes says the true heroes in this disaster are, "the countless, thousands, of individuals, companies, and groups of volunteers in both Nepal and overseas who have come together, often leaving jobs behind, from the goodness of their heart to do what they can for Nepal."

As for the world of adventure charity, the seasoned explorer has some good advice for his peers:


"For those who are considering spending a week or two climbing a mountain on one leg or running 7 marathons in 7 continents blindfolded to ‘raise money for charity’ I’m also going to suggest something here that may just disappoint some while galvanising others... And that is, perhaps, that same time might be better spent actually doing some work in the host country – whilst raising sponsorship at the same time?"


"As written above, there are numerous organisations that badly need and would hugely welcome help from people who are happy to get their hands dirty – erecting shelters, distributing rice, wheat or medical equipment, clearing rubble, simple building labouring work and so on. And with the ‘adventure for charity’ world in danger of being overdone, perhaps this is a welcome and more useful way forward."


Adrian Hayes debrief

Don Bowie's blog




Inside Nepal, Mountaineer Al Hancock's 2nd Quake Debrief: Landslides were Everywhere


Climbers' Quake Efforts, interview with Adrian Hayes: "Re-building houses needs cash"


Climbers' Quake Efforts, Namche Bazaar: Interview with Johan Ernst Nilson, "I'm here to make sure the individual is being helped"


Climbers' Nepal Efforts: Second Quake Update


Climbers' Quake Efforts: Call for Rolwaling and latest from Hayes (updated)


Annapurna to Barpak: Don Bowie climbing team reports from remote Nepal


Explorersweb interview with Adrian Hayes


Climbing community assists villages - updated


6SummitsChallenge/Mission14 to Discontinue Everest, Lhotse, Makalu Attempts


Video: Avalanche hits Everest; and don't forget the villages


Good Work from CTMA, Nepalese Officials Eager to Pronounce “Everest is Open”


Climbing Season Spring 2015: It's Almost Over


Everest: List of Avalanche Victims


Another Everest Video: Tribute to the Fallen


Other 8000ers: Chinese authority suspended climbing, Decisions on Nepal Mountains


First Everest Avalanche Video Shows Monster Cloud Hitting Camps


Nepal/Everest quake, end of day 2: Aftershocks, Namche evacuated, weather worsening


Pakistan Deployed Four Military Aircrafts for Nepal Relief, Alpine Club Letter of Support


Mount Everest Update: Rescue Flights Resume


Nepal Earthquake: Everest Base Camp Avalanche


Quake update: Everest, Annapurna, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Dhaula, Shisha


Nepal Earthquake Updates: Mountains Tremble














Temporary housing: tin structures are replacing tarp in the Gorkha district. Jennifer from team Bowie organizes.
courtesy Fenom Creative/Scott Rogers, SOURCE
Kim Bannister, related to outfitter Project Himalaya, chipping in for one of the Mahji fishing villages that are currently not receiving aid according to Kamzang treks who recently visited.
courtesy kamzang.com, SOURCE
How about getting your hands dirty while raising funds, Adrian advices charity adventurers.
courtesy Adrian Hayes, SOURCE
VIDEO: German climber, Jost Kobusch, took this footage at the village Raguchor, showing how the people are living "under plastic" and rebuilding their houses with the little they have.
courtesy Jost kobusch, SOURCE