I was half way through my blog about my Eastern adventures and then the earthquake hit. At some stage I am sure that I will finish it and post it, but for now, as I have been getting lots of messages via text, email and Facebook, I thought it was easier to write a mini blog!
Firstly, I am safe, thank you all for your concern
We were in the middle of a tiny village in the hills of Eastern Nepal, drinking chyaang (well, it was 12.00!) when we literally felt the earth move. It all seemed so exciting watching our jeep swaying and moving and standing in the middle of the street with the locals. Simon said he thought it was a big one, but we were out of mobile range and had no idea how big……
We continued our adventure, laughing as our jeep got stuck in the mud and digging out rocks to throw into the holes to get us up the hill (and even laughing as I didn’t even break a nail in the process!!).
Then we arrived at our destination for the night and they had a radio saying that the quake had hit KTM and it was a big one. Still we didn’t know just how big and 24 hours later we were back in Simon’s village, with access to wifi and the devastating images and messages coming from our friends around the country.
To be honest I spent most of yesterday afternoon in tears…..of relief on receiving texts from friends saying they were safe, of just sheer gratefulness for the many messages I received asking if I was OK and then just sadness as I saw picture after picture emerge of the country that I have grown to love and adore, in ruins.
I still haven’t had updates from some of my friends, and naturally I am concerned. However I am trying not to worry too much as clearly KTM has no electricity and very very patchy access to either landlines or mobile signals.
Today Simon and I have decided to do something and are currently trying to arrange for some fresh drinking water, food and medical supplies to take to Gorkha to distribute to the many families and children that are sleeping out, exposed to the elements and rapidly running out of fresh drinking water, and food supplies, which will of course lead to further health problems. We have contacted the International Red Cross but they are unfortunately dealing with the recovery of bodies and not with the distribution of aid, so we are looking to partner up with UNICEF who are working tirelessly to get fresh water and sanitisation to the kids who have been made homeless. When we get to Gorkha, we will somehow find out what agencies are working there and see if we can join them.
I am supposed to fly home on Friday, but at the moment we are unclear as to whether that will happen. The international airport is being used for emergency and aid flights at present and there is a backlog of people waiting to “escape” from KTM, meanwhile I am preparing to head back there eventually.
I have no idea what to expect when we get there, but I do know that I am likely to be crying some more. You hear about these disasters on the news, you read about them in the papers, you watch the images on the screen, I am going to be driving into it and actually experiencing it, this thing doesn’t really happen except on a TV screen, does it???
But, I can promise you all one thing, I will keep myself safe, I will try and get back to the UK as soon as I can, but in the meantime I will use my time wisely and help these beautiful and amazing people as much as I can.
A lot of you have asked me “what can I do” well, here it is………donate!!! Sorry to be so blunt, but that is it!
We now have our own charity, Supporting Nepal’s Children and have been working in the schools out here. We are still waiting to hear if all our kids are safe, they are in the mountains, in remote areas and as well as having the risk of buildings collapsing, they are in danger of landslides too. We will be here long after the international aid agencies leave (who are doing a stunning and amazing job right now) These children need our long term as well as short term help.
For the short term, £10 will buy 15 cases of mineral water…….180 bottles…….180 children that will have 1 litre of fresh water.
Simon and I will take as many cases as we can in a truck to Gorkha and get them distributed to as many families and children as we can. We will also load up with food and medical supplies, using all the cash we have available between us right now (its difficult to access additional cash as most ATM’s are not working due to situation in KTM)
Any donations we receive over and above the money we spend on supplies will then go into our fund to help the children for the future and get the schools rebuilt, so as well as providing as much short term relief as we physically can, we will then ensure that these kids can continue their education, and who knows maybe even become the architects of the future that will help build earthquake proof buildings for their children and their children’s children…….
So, please feel free to dig deep, and send a donation – http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/HazelSNC2016
As I mentioned above, as much of this money as possible will initially be going directly to buying water and supplies (whatever we are told is needed) then any donations left will go to our general funds to continue our work for the future. As ever I will keep you posted as best I can, but when I get back to KTM, electricity, internet, mobile phone coverage will be virtually non existent.
Hopefully the next update you get from me will be from the UK and I will finally be able to tell you about the rest of my trip.
Thanks again to you all for your concern, I am fine and just want to do anything I can to help.
Lots of love to you all