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The monsoon in Nepal has ended, the days are mostly sunny, and mountain trekking is as good as ever in those areas spared from earthquake damage, especially in the Everest and Annapurna regions. In the Kathmandu valley things look quite normal though a second look will reveal some demolished buildings. Bhaktapur was harder hit than most parts of the valley and whole neighborhoods are still digging out of the rubble. Although half of the residents have left the city, most return each day to rebuild and work in the shops.
Taumadhi Square, Bhaktapur
Though dozens of major World Heritage sites have fallen, most are still intact. It’s not the same here as before the quake but it is still a vibrant, fascinating place. While is now possible to enjoy trekking again in most regions of Nepal, there is a fuel shortage that has made transportation difficult, especially around the Kathmandu valley and Pokhara. Ironically this problem was brought on by one of the greatest triumphs in modern Nepali history. After eight years of failed efforts to deliver a new constitution, the earthquake spurred a spirit of cooperation and the Nepal parliament approved one of the world’s most progressive democratic constitutions. Unfortunately a large constituency along the Indian border has disputed some of the constitution’s provisions and has blocked the Indian border in protest. The restriction of fuels and other critical supplies has been a major problem for most Nepalese and an annoyance for many tourists. It should also be noted that while there has been some violent protests along the border this area is very far from Kathmandu which remains very safe.
ITrekNepal guests at Everest Base Camp – October 2015
Fortunately the Bhaktapur Paradise Hotel where most ITrekNepal guests are staying has an ample supply of cooking gas and our drivers have a good stock of fuel so it is still a pleasant environment here. With the inauguration of the new government intent on remedying these political problems, the shortages are expected to ease in the next couple weeks and life should back to normal for everyone fairly soon.
In the meantime the Kathmandu valley and Pokhara are exceptionally peaceful. Similarly, the relative lack of tourists has made the popular treks even more enjoyable since there are no crowds to contend with.
About every 70 – 80 years Nepal has been hit by a major earthquake. The great earthquake in 1934 resulted in many deaths and widespread destruction on the same scale as the current quake. After the 34 quake, most of the damaged cultural sites were restored and Nepal soon returned to normal daily life. Much has changed here in 81 years, but the strength, resiliency of the Nepalese people and enduring support of their friends from around the world are still the same. We are confident that Nepal will find the international and external resources to recover and prosper.
For the short-term, we have cancelled all of the scheduled group treks through May. We expect to resume operations in June and to be fully operational by the fall trekking season in September. We are also checking on the access roads, trails and lodges for the Annapurna, Langtang, and Everest regions to insure that these are safe for travel and trekking. As you might have heard there was major damage in the Langtang Valley. There has also been some lesser damage to the trails and lodges in the Everest and Annapurna regions.In addition to direct support for the recovery and Hope for the future in the faces of Nepal’s children rebuilding effort,one of the best ways to help Nepal will be to travel and trek there, either as already planned or with a different perspective. You can visit areas affected by the earthquake, hear the stories of those who have been directly affected, and bring them items from your country that they cannot easily get. Although you might find some inconvenience from damaged roads and facilities, you will mostly find a country and its people on the rise again, and happy to share with you the beauty of this remarkable country.
The massive earthquakes that struck Nepal on April 25 along with continual aftershocks, have created disastrous conditions throughout central Nepal. This is how the ITrekNepal staff, our families and friends are responding.
Bhaktapur Relief Project We have initiated the Bhaktapur Relief Project to help ITrekNepal staff and their families rebuild their homes and lives that have been disrupted by the April 25th earthquake. Please visit www.itreknepal.com/bhaktapur-relieffor more information about this project and to donate.
Because of its location and concentration of ancient buildings Bhaktapur was one of the hardest hit areas in Nepal. In addition to the loss of hundreds of lives, over half of the homes and many major cultural sites were either destroyed or seriously damaged by the quake. The personal losses and the destruction of so much of Nepal’s cultural heritage is almost incalculable. The ITrekNepal staff and friends have already started delivering emergency supplies to those in greatest need around Bhaktapur. They are also bringing aid to the villages of our guides and porters in the Langtang and Everest regions. To support these efforts we have set up the Bhaktapur Relief Project which is distributing 100% of all donations directly to emergency needs and the rebuilding of damaged homes.We have already received over ItrekNepal staff helping with recovery at a village near Bhaktapur. iTrekNepal team working for Bhaktapur Earthquake Relief $30,000 in donations and pledges from 70 contributors, and have a goal of raising at least $60,000 in the next month. Please visit the Bhaktapur Relief Project web page to learn more about this project and how you can contribute. You can also visit the ITrekNepal Facebook page for updates about our current activities. Thank you to our many friends who have already donated.
iTrekNepal staffs working in Earthquake Relief Project
iTrekNepal staffs working and collecting damage data after earthquake