Nepal Earthquakes: 2 Years Later

On the 25th April and the 12th May 2015 two devastating earthquakes hit Nepal and changed the lives of many people in a country which is very close to our hearts. Many lives, houses and schools and were lost.

Although the earthquake is no longer a major international news story, for many Nepalis (including many of our local staff) their lives revolve around getting back on their feet.

Thanks to your incredible generosity, the Exodus Earthquake Appeal has had donations from more than 3,500 individuals, mostly Exodus travellers, totaling more than £270K.

Here at Exodus we were utterly humbled by your response. We would like to thank all who donated from the bottom of our hearts, and our friends in Nepal feel the same. We also wanted you to see where your money has gone, two years after the initial appeal.

This is what your generous donations have achieved for the people of Nepal.

Exodus Earthquake Relief

Exodus' Chandra Khand clearing rubble in a village

Exodus has been operating tours in the Himalaya for over 40 years now and for many of us it is one of the most beautiful and welcoming parts of the world. In 2015, the earthquakes in Nepal, the fuel crisis and the subsequent lack of trekkers brought the country to its knees. We have done what we can to help, but we couldn't have done it without the staff who have worked for Exodus for many years, who volunteered much of their time to help.

Pete, Valerie and our local leaders in Nepal, ready to help

Following the devastating earthquake on the 25th April 2015, Peter Burrell, Exodus Managing Director and Valerie Parkinson, Asia Base Manager, spent a week in Nepal setting up our relief efforts. The first stage of relief work was to source tarpaulins for immediate emergency shelters. Our local leaders went on an initial relief run to Kaphal Chor, where we distributed tarpaulins, mattresses and food to families who had lost their homes. Our local agent in Nepal, Karma Lama, managed to source more than 2000 tarpaulins, which we then distributed to our leaders together with relief money to go to their own villages and help people in most need. Many of our leaders had their own homes destroyed.

Distributing emergency food and first aid supplies

The next stage of our relief work centred on providing more permanent shelter before the monsoons arrived. Tarpaulin was only ever going to be an immediate emergency solution. As the monsoon approached, we managed to provide most of our Nepali trekking staff (leaders and assistant guides) with corrugated tin so that, together with locally sourced wood, they could construct temporary shelters to protect their families from the weather.

An example of the tin and wooden shelters

As it became evident that families were going to be in temporary shelters for a while, people adapted and enlarged the original tin shelters. They added wood and bamboo and many built a separate kitchen area. Towards the end of 2015 Valerie visited many of our local staff’s homes in Solu and Dolakha to see the situation. Following this visit in early January 2016, we distributed money to staff who had lost everything to buy materials for rebuilding or to pay for labour. Some staff have now cleared their land and collected stones and wood ready for rebuilding.

Exodus and the Nepal Youth Foundation

Nepali school children Nepali school children

Exodus teamed up with the Nepal Youth Foundation in late 2015. The organisation was already working in Nepal with disadvantaged children. Following the earthquake they quickly mobilised their teams on the ground to start rebuilding schools destroyed in the earthquake, and in January 2016 we made our first commitment to fund what became a total of six schools. As part of that first school rebuild we also sponsored a Nutrition Kitchen at this school for a year, where every day the children receive a nutritious meal whilst at school. We also paid for the supply of new furniture for five of the six schools.

Specialist Medical Camp in Nepal

From the 18-22 March 2106 Exodus organised and funded a Specialist Medical Camp in Thulopatel village. The camp ran for three days with 29 volunteer doctors and eye specialists travelling from Kathmandu to Thulopatel, a village located 8 hours drive from Kathmandu. Sukman, one of our Nepali leaders, co-ordinated the logistics of the camp and more than 20 of our Nepali staff volunteered to help at the camp. Over three days specialist surgeons, eye doctors, paediatricians, gynaecologists and dentists saw 1590 patients, some of who had travelled a day to get to the camp. The local health post was converted into a full operating theatre. 44 patients had operations including some quite major hernia operations and 29 cataract operations were performed.

Exodus and the Health Partnership Nepal

For 2017 we have teamed up with the Health Partnership Nepal, a medical charity based at St Georges Hospital, Tooting, just down the road from our Head Office in South London. They have been running medical camps in rural areas of Nepal for several years and we will be part funding their 2017 camp in May with the remainder of the funds we had left from the appeal. A team of 45 medical staff, led by pediatric surgeon Dr Zahid Mukhtar, will fly out to Nepal for the camp which will run from 22nd May for three weeks. As part of the first week which focuses on public health, HPN run a Women’s Day, and will distribute 250 “Freedom Kit bags” that have been paid for by Exodus. These are sanitary packs which are made locally, and are designed to last for two years. As menstruation is a social stigma in Nepal the aim of these sanitary packs, which include reusable pads, is to break the thinking that women are unclean during their periods.

Exodus’ MD, Pete Burrell, will be making a special visit to the camp at the end of the second week and will report back on his return.

Although the Earthquake Appeal closed last year you can still support our Himalayan Community Fund by donating through Friends of Conservation here.

Travel to Nepal

Nepal is now safe for travel. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office declared Nepal safe to travel in the summer of 2015, and it is the income represented by responsible travellers that Nepal now needs to get back on its feet in a sustainable, long term way.

If you want to travel to Nepal and show your support for these resilient, inspiring communities, you'll find all you need to know here.

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