The financial aftershock is probably unavoidable. But it is important to keep the vibrations for Nepal within limits. The fall trekking season is just around the corner, and the government anticipates a dramatic 50 percent slump in tourism. “The number of foreign tourists has declined after the earthquake”, says Tourism Minister Kripasur Sherpa. “This is a heavy burden, because tourism is very important for the Nepalese economy and people.” The Government points out that international independent earthquake experts have declared the most popular trekking routes in Nepal, the Annapurna Circuit and the Everest Base Camp Trek, for nonhazardous. “Tourists don’t take higher risks any more”, says Kripasur Sherpa.
Date20. August 2015 | 16:27
TagsAnnapurna Curcuit, Don't forget Nepal, Dujmovits, Earthquake, Everest Base Camp Trek, Kripasur Sherpa, Miyamoto, Nepal Now, Travel warning
The World Food Programme (WFP) has sounded the alarm. If the “United Nations Humanitarian Air Service” (UNHAS) does not receive additional money, the helicopter relief flights for the earthquake victims in Nepal have to be stopped at the end of August. According to the WFP, which manages the UNHAS, there is a shortfall of more than nine million US dollars to continue the flights as scheduled until the end of October.
Date14. August 2015 | 16:06
A cautious all-clear for the Everest Base Camp trail. “None of the major suspension bridges appear to be affected by new geotechnical hazards as a result of the earthquake”, says the report of a group of mountain guides and engineers of the US based agency Miyamoto International which is specialized on earthquake damage. “Much of the trail and most of the rock retaining walls (both above and below) the trail are undamaged. We have observed very little foundation damage to buildings.” At the end of June the team had assessed the condition of the trail from the village of Lukla to Everest Base Camp after the devastating earthquake of 25 April and the aftermaths. 83 percent of the observed lodges and houses were given a green tag, meaning that they were undamaged or hardly affected. And the others?
Date7. August 2015 | 20:06
It looked as if the magician David Copperfield had staged one of his grand illusions. “The school was much smaller than I remembered it”, Ralf Dujmovits tells me. “First I didn’t even realize that the ground floor had just slumped down. The upper parts of the building were still standing. Only when I got loser, I saw the extent of damage. That really brought tears to my eyes.” Germany’s most successful high altitude climber visited the “Gerlinde and Ralf School” in Thulosirubari one and a half weeks after the devastating earthquake in Nepal. Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner and Ralf Dujmovits had given financial support to the project of the German aid organization “Nepalhilfe Beilngries” and thus had made it possible that the school had been opened in 2009. “If you suddenly realize that the building has to be demolished, you just begin to cry”, says Ralf. You all can help to rebuild the school by supporting the campaign “School up!”.
Date22. June 2015 | 11:33
TagsEarthquake, Gerlinde and Ralf School, Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, Nepal, Nepalhilfe Beilngries, Ralf Dujmovits, School up!, Sindhupalchowk, Thulosirubari
When can you call it normality again after a state of emergency? Obviously it depends on the way of perception. “Nepal is safe, don’t worry! This is our clear message for today”, said Bhesh Narayan Dahal, head of the governmental department that is responsible for the preservation of the world heritage sites of Nepal, at the beginning of the week. Temples in Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur, which had been badly damaged by the earthquake on 25 April, were re-opened with a ceremony. But even the government seems to feel uneasy about it.
Date17. June 2015 | 15:39
He has just stayed there – to help. When the devastating earthquake hit Nepal on 25 April, the Canadian climber Don Bowie was in Base Camp at the foot of Annapurna. For ten years, Don is climbing on eight-thousanders. By now he has scaled three of them, all without supplementary oxygen: K 2 (in 2007), Gasherbrum I (2010) and Cho Oyu (2011). After the tremors, the 46-year-old decided spontaneously to cancel the expedition and to use his skills as high altitude climber and mountain rescuer to help the earthquake victims in remote villages of Nepal. Since then Don is almost non-stop on the road in the mountains of the Himalayan state. On the Internet, he is asking for donations to finance his relief campaign. I contacted Don Bowie in Nepal.
Don, where are you staying right now?
I am based out of Kathmandu but I am now working in many districts – Gorkha, Nuwakot, Rasuwa, Sindhulpachowk, Dhading, and Dolakha.
Date14. June 2015 | 10:00
There is considerable indignation. Since British media reported that the Nepalese government put an income tax of 15 to 30 per cent on relief goods for earthquake victims, the authorities in Kathmandu are subjected to sharp criticism in the social networks. The guideline that tents and tarpaulin were custom free had expired on 3 June. A week ago, government officials had announced that relief goods could be still imported without paying taxes, but only if they would then be distributed by governmental organizations. “An organization which wants to distribute imported goods itself has to pay full customs duty”, said Surya Sedai of the Department of Customs. “This is to minimize the risk of smuggling.” Some international organizations already complained about harassment. On the internet, votes are collected for a petition to Nepal’s Prime Minister Sushil Koirala to “stop levying taxes on materials imported to aid sufferers of the Nepalese earthquakes”. I talked about the topic with German aid organizations.
Date10. June 2015 | 17:03
TagsAWO International, Customs, Earthquake, European Parliament, Nepal, Relief supplies, World Vision
“Come back! So that Nepal can make a comeback.” So you could overwrite the appeals of those who are living from tourism in Nepal or have to do with it. The trekking and expedition operators from abroad send a signal that they want to realize most of their trips that they had planned for the post-monsoon season before the earthquake hit the country on 25 April. “The devastating earthquake has shaken the life in Nepal, but slowly life is returning to normality”, Dominik Mueller, head of German operator Amical alpin, wrote.
Date3. June 2015 | 19:25
TagsAlpenglow, Amical Alpin, Annapurna, DAV Summit Club, Everest, Himalayan Experience, Makalu, Manaslu, Nepal
Temba Tsheri reached the summit of Mount Everest when he was 16 years and 14 days old. The Nepalese schoolboy from Rolwaling Valley had joined a French team that climbed from the Tibetan north side to the top of Everest. Then, in 2001, he was the youngest climber ever who had scaled the highest mountain on earth. (Nine years later he was followed by 13-year-old American Jordan Romero.) In spring 2000, Temba had tried to climb Everest from the south side. Just below the summit he had had to return, because he had lost too much time because of a traffic jam at the Hillary Step. He had lost five fingers due to frostbite.
Later Temba Tsheri Sherpa studied at the University of Wuhan in China and started his own business, organizing expeditions. When the devastating earthquake struck Nepal on 25 April, he was the managing director of “Dreamers Destination”, an operator based in Kathmandu that had a large expedition group on Everest. The huge avalanche from Pumori, that was triggered by the earthquake and hit Everest Base Camp, killed three of Temba’s foreign clients and two Nepali staff members. I asked the 30-year-old Sherpa about the situation in his homeland after the earthquake.
Temba, what is your personal balance of the earthquake disaster – or in other words: What have you lost?
Date26. May 2015 | 18:50
TagsAvalanche, Dreamers Destination, Earthquake, Mount Everest, Nepal, Rolwaling, Temba Tsheri Sherpa
That was close. On Sunday, a landslide (look at the video below) thundered down to the valley of Kali Gandaki and dammed the river, about 50 kilometers northwest of the Nepalese city of Pokhara. More than 20 houses were destroyed. A big flood wave threatened. Many people in the valley – as in Beni, a town of 20,000 inhabitants nine kilometers downriver – spent the night outside their homes. The largest hydropower plant in Nepal, about 40 kilometers south, was run down.
Date25. May 2015 | 13:28
About 100 seconds were enough to transform Nepal from a dreamland to a nightmare country. The earthquake on 25 April left a trail of devastation. In some mountain regions the quake triggered avalanches of debris, mud, ice or snow that razed entire villages to the ground. According to the Nepalese government, about 500,000 houses were completely destroyed by the main earthquake and numerous aftershocks. The authorities registered to date more than 8,600 deaths. Five German tourists were among the victims, four others are still missing, a spokesman of the Foreign Office in Berlin confirmed to me today. Many dead, buried deep under piles of rubble, will probably never be recovered. What a tragedy.
More than one million jobs in tourism
Date21. May 2015 | 15:35
TagsAmical Alpin, Dominik Mueller, Earthquake, Fall season, German Foreign Office, Hauser Exkursionen, Langtang, Manfred Haeupl, Nepal, TAAN, tourism ministry
A video of two minutes and 28 seconds has made Jost Kobusch known throughout the world in one go. It shows the huge avalanche from the seven-thousander Pumori that was triggered by the earthquake in Nepal on 25 April and devastated Everest Base Camp. 19 people lost their lives. Jost survived and put his video online on YouTube. It spread like wildfire. The 22-year-old German climber grew up near the town of Bielefeld. Talking to me, he called himself a cosmopolitan: “I travel a lot. Last year, I lived in Kyrgyzstan for six months, in Nepal for two months, in Svalbard for two month and in Japan for a month. There was not much time left for my home address.” At the end of May, Kobusch wants to return to Nepal to help where it is possible. Afterwards he will travel to Kyrgyzstan, to the village of Arslanbob, some 200 kilometers southwest of the capital Bishkek, where he plans to initiate a climbing project with local people. I talked to Jost about his experiences after the earthquake in Nepal.
Jost, what did you think this week when you heard about the new earthquake in Nepal?
I was sitting in front of my computer and received on Facebook a message from a friend who wrote: We survived. Till then I had not heard anything about it. I immediately wrote to all my Nepalese friends whether they were doing well. A friend, who normally replies promptly, did not answer, neither in the evening nor the next morning. I started to get worried. Fortunately, she replied after all. She wrote that they were now living in a tent, because it was safer. That made me a little bit nervous. I’ll soon go to Nepal. I worry about my own safety.
Date17. May 2015 | 16:07
Nepal does not come to rest. Two and a half weeks after the devastating earthquake that killed more than 8,000 people, the country was hit by another strong quake today. The tremors reached a magnitude of 7.3 on the Richter scale (for comparison: the earthquake on April 25 had a magnitude of 7.8). According to the US Geological Survey and the German Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam the epicenter of the earthquake was located in the Dolakha District, 76 kilometers northeast of the capital Kathmandu. Quite exactly there is Bigu Gompa, one of the largest Buddhist nunneries in Nepal. The nuns had just started to rebuild those parts of the monastery which had been destroyed by the quake two weeks.
Date12. May 2015 | 15:28
Breaking news: New earthquake in Nepal
News agencies report, that a strong earthquake shook Nepal on Tuesday, sending people in the capital Kathmandu rushing out on to the streets weeks after a devastating quake killed more than 8,000 people and destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake had a magnitude of 7.4 and struck 68 km west of the town of Namche Bazaar, close to
P.S.: For latest news, read my tweets on the right side of my blog!
Date12. May 2015 | 8:27
Ralf Dujmovits is shocked. “I have rarely seen something so depressing and sad”, says Germany’s most successful high altitude mountaineer when he calls me from Kathmandu. He has just returned from an all-day trip to Sindhupalchowk District, about 80 kilometers northeast of the capital. There was no other district in Nepal where the devastating earthquake two weeks ago killed more people than in Sindhupalchowk. So far, the government has registered there more than 3,000 dead – at a total of more than 7,900 fatalities throughout Nepal.
Date9. May 2015 | 21:13
TagsEarthquake, Kathmandu, Nancy Hansen, Nepal, Nepalhilfe Beilngries, Ralf Dujmovits, Sindhupalchowk