Earthquake Update – June 2016

new mattresses

Crisis… What crisis?

In our October circular, we reported that whilst essential repairs to the buildings at Kailash had been carried out, the demand for building trade workers in the worst hit areas of the country had dictated that our less urgent repair work had to be put on hold. In addition, the political issues relating to the constitution had plunged the country into (yet) another crisis, making mere survival, rather than re-building, the priority.

At that time, we reported that:

From a distance, we can do very little to help, other than to hope that the situation will be resolved in the near future, but in the meantime, … we can be sure that our children are in good hands!!

We are delighted to report that six months on,

  • The fuel and political crisis has been resolved, and life has returned to normal;
  • The pressure on the building trade has eased, and we have been able to make a start on all the necessary repairs to buildings in hand before the onset of the monsoon; and
  • Most importantly, the children are in good health, and, despite all the problems which have surrounded them, they continue to study hard and perform well in their examinations.

Funds Raised

Our Earthquake appeal in the UK raised almost £19,000 so a big “thank you” to all who contributed to this fund.

When put alongside the funds raised by our two parallel charities HYF in the USA (HYF-US) and Mountaineers for Himalayas (M4H) in Andorra, our overall fundraising amounted to $89,200 and we are now actively putting these funds to good use, as we explain below.

Kailash Home

A programme of repairs is now nearly completed and the building work covers:

  • Replacing damaged solar panels
  • Repairing structural cracks in the walls and roofs
  • Replacing broken windows
  • Replacing damaged water storage tanks
  • Repairing plumbing and drainage works
new water tanks
health and safety
safety kit

Whilst a UK-based health and safety practitioner might have some comments about the lack of scaffolding, safety harnesses, or even footwear, the enthusiasm of the workers in these photos is not in question and the work is almost complete!

In addition to these building works, we have also been able to replace all the children’s mattresses (picture at the top), which were ruined through constant manhandling and exposure to the elements when the children lived in tents through the monsoon period last year. Finally, we refurbished the lockers, the only private spaces the children have, which were also badly damaged.

We have retained a small reserve to cover any unforeseen repairs which may come to light when the Kailash Home plays host to this year’s monsoon, which will subject all the repair work to rigorous testing.

The Wider Community

The generous contributions to our fund have enabled us to provide support outside the Kailash Home and we decided to focus this support on the village of Langtang, in the region which was at the epicentre of the earthquake. A number of our children originate from Langtang and have lost their families and their home, so it was a natural choice for us to direct our efforts there.

They say “a picture paints a thousand words” and never is that saying more true than of these two pictures which show the village of Langtang before and after the earthquake.

Langtang before

Langtang after

Moments after the earthquake struck, a massive expanse of ice fell thousands of feet, creating an avalanche of ice and rocks that wiped out a community where four hundred people lived. In a matter of seconds, Langtang village was wiped off the face of the Earth. The only survivors are those who were not in the village on that fatal day. Not one single house was spared.

Micheline Kramer, president of HYF-US and one of the founders of Kailash, visited Langtang in April with Anselme Baud of M4H to witness the devastation first hand and assess how best we could help. After spending ten days in Langtang, it was decided that the best solution was to provide funds to help the people of the village rebuild their homes. Several long and emotional “interviews” were conducted and seven families were selected to receive a grant of $6,000 towards home rebuilding.

Below are just three of their stories. Gyurmae’s only surviving son has been at Kailash for six years and he travelled to Langtang with Micheline to see his father. Torke and Tsering Tamang, who have been taken into the Kailash “family,” acted as Micheline’s guides during the visit and were a great help. The positive attitude adopted by Nepalis in these difficult times is a delight to behold and reminds us why we do the work we do.

Gyurmae Tamang

GayurmaeA delighted Gyurmae after hearing the news of his grant first hand from Micheline
Gyurmae is the father of Sonam Gyatso, presently in Grade IV at Kailash, who has been with us for about 6 years.

Gyurmae lost his wife, daughter and youngest son in the earthquake. He used to own a tea house, which was destroyed. He is now working as a porter to survive.

Phurfu Chyamo

PhurfuPhurfu with what remains of her home behind her
Phurfu is the grandmother of Torke and Tsering Tamang (new children who joined Kailash in 2016). They lost their father and mother in the earthquake; Phurfu is the only survivor. She needs a new home to welcome her grandchildren back home in Langtang.

Makar Tamang

MakaMakar’s parents are living in this temporary home until he can raise the money to rebuild
Makar works as a cook on trekking trips in Langtang. His own house was destroyed, as well as the family home in Langtang. He lives in a temporary shelter in Kathmandu with three of his children. His younger son, Usha, is at Kailash Home. Makar wants to rebuild a house for his family.

Thank you once again for your support to our earthquake appeal. The money has been put to very good use to the benefit of the children and the wider community.