Dear Friends and Family,
The past few weeks have been very difficult. The first earthquake on April 25th (7.8 magnitude) severely damaged villages in Pharak. The second earthquake on May 12th (7.3 magnitude) destroyed what was left after the first one.
My husband, Un Sherpa, and I are back in the States after our quick visit to assess needs and coordinate relief efforts in our villages in Pharak (Chaurikharka VDC, Solukhumbu). Many might know this as the region between the villages of Lukla and Namche in the Everest area. I am writing this to update you about our situation and also to request help.
We decided to go to Nepal because so little information was trickling in, and we did not know the full scope of loss and devastation in our villages. We visited over 200 houses and 30 villages in Pharak. We found that people are in dire need of shelter, medical care and food supplies. It is VERY clear that help is urgently needed for the 38 villages, 834 households and 4600 people of Pharak.
I am very hopeful now that I have seen the volunteerism and support from the larger community. Neighbors are lending blankets and food, while they themselves sleep in tents and temporary tarpaulin shelters. Community members are donating their own money and mounting impromptu relief efforts to help each other. Fortunately for the Everest area, the three VDCs—Khumjung, Namche and Chaurikharka—are coordinating with each other so we can rebuild as a community.
However, a lot still needs to be done. We community members are (as much as practically possible) assessing needs, seeking relief materials and distributing them in an equitable manner. But things are changing constantly--houses that stood yesterday are falling today, children who had warm shelters are sleeping in cold, wet and crowded tents, and parents who relied on tourism to support their families are worried whether tourists will return or not. Meanwhile we wonder when the next earthquake will hit or Imja glacial lake will burst its moraine. Even a little noise or a shake is enough to alert people. Children wake up from nightmares. It is difficult to take a deep breath and say it's okay because it may NOT be.
This summer I will be actively raising funds for Pharak. The Greater Himalayas Foundation, a Virginia based non-profit, has generously provided institutional support to raise funds on indiegogo; Farak Sherpa Kyidug, Ex-Students of Chaurikharka School, and Himalayan Club are local organizations working on the ground to distribute relief. The Himalayan Trust and the Mountain Spirit, national NGOs, helped coordinate relief and rebuilding efforts in Kathmandu. Volunteers from all these organizations have spent hours and their own resources to help. Working as a community, we can rise from all this devastation. That gives me hope and energy to keep going.
You can donate by clicking here, and please share this campaign with your friends.
Thank you very much.
Pasang Y. Sherpa, Ph.D.
India-China Institute, The New School