Report from Jim Sumrall on May 5, 2015
I had been waiting to hear definitively about Samun and her sister Yesoda; I'm happy to say that they and their family are reported safe The reports coming from Nepal are appalling. As of today, the official toll is over 7,000 dead, many more injured, and even more homeless. The photos coming from Kathmandu, but especially the countryside around Gorkha, the epicenter of the earthquake, show devastation beyond believable. Entire villages have been leveled.
Communications have been difficult because the city has been without electricity until recently. The internet was down, but cell phone service has been accessible even after the first quake a week ago last Saturday. I was able to text one of my guides Gyankumar Rai, and we have been able to talk via cell several times since then. He reports that he and his family (wife, 3 children, 2 of whom are school age and we sponsor in private school) are safe although their building was damaged and they are camping on the streets like many of Kathmandu's residents.
It took several days, but Nanda Kulu, the founder and director of the Mitrata Children's Home in Kathmandu, reports that she and all of the children in the Home and the children sponsored by the Home in schools around Kathmandu, are safe. Nanda's home and the structure which houses the Mitrata Children's Home are both undamaged. It took a little longer, but Nanda also confirms that Samun Karki, her younger sister Yesoda, both of whom are sponsored by Meeting, and their family are OK.
Another report I received via Facebook from Jwalant Gurung who is one of the owners of Crystal Mountain Treks, states that little aid is reaching the countryside. He has personally undertaken a mission into the hills above Gorkha, carrying supplies to the village of Singla which was pretty much wiped out. He states that the trails are nearly impassable, that they had to scramble over debris on hands and knees, that the smell of death was everywhere. The only aid he has seen on the ground was the UN World Food Program which has airlifted (via helicopter) food into the Gorkha region. Interestingly, the lead story on Sunday's CBS News was about the UNWFP and an article in today's Durango Herald also mentions what they are doing.
In today's Durango Herald (May 5) there was another story regarding Nepal and Durango's connection to Nepal. Karma Bhotia is hosting a dinner at his restaurant The Himalayan Kitchen on May 13 from 6 to 9 PM to raise funds for Nepal. Individual contributions are suggested at $35 per person. In addition, a number of the restaurants downtown are participating by contributing 10% of their sales that day to Karma's non-profit the Karma and Jyamu Bhotia Foundation. I would like a group of us from Meeting to plan on attending the fundraiser on May 13 as a show of our support.