You will all have heard the news of further earthquakes (magnitude 7.3) at midday, Tuesday 12 May, with an epicentre near Namche Bazaar. At present the Airport at Kathmandu is closed.
This comes against a background of Nepali Press reports (led by Kantipur) on 10 May that the Government has refused to let UK Chinook helicopters into Nepal for technical reasons: these reports are unsubstantiated.
At present accurate and verified information is difficult to come by, and for the latest you are advised to follow (you do not need an account) the following Facebook links:
- GWT: www.facebook.com/pages/The-Gurkha-Welfare-Trust/600192853326454
- GBA: www.facebook.com/TheGurkhaBrigadeAssociation
- Gurkha Museum: www.facebook.com/TheGurkhaMuseum
On 8 May GWT were able to report:
That the relief operation in the middle hills was gathering momentum, with a clearer picture of the need beginning to emerge. There is significant loss of life and widespread damage to buildings/houses. For example, the Nepal Army (NA) Ops Room at Gorkha reported that the district had suffered 439 deaths, 716 serious casualties and 44,607 properties severely damaged, with 13,236 completely destroyed.
The immediate needs remain for food/shelter/water/medical care, and the monsoon is less than one month away. Reports indicated that six Welfare Pensioners (WPs), three Service Pensioners (SPs) and one dependant had been killed and a number injured, some seriously. Damage to WP/SP property is widespread but to date GWT’s water projects and schools appear to have come through the disaster almost unscathed – a testament to the quality of construction.
GWS are following four key lines of activity:
- Intensive patrol activity across areas of responsibility, a visible presence in the affected areas and provision of immediate medical support.
- Provision of Emergency Packs, comprising some form of shelter (tarpaulin/tent etc), rations etc. Over 500 have already been delivered, not just to our WPs/SPs but also to the wider community, and further distribution will take place once the QGE reinforcements deploy.
- Emergency Reinforcements (80 x QGE) are beginning to arrive and will provide essential support to GWS activities, particularly the provision of emergency shelter. Staff reinforcements to HQ GWS will also be provided by 1RGR in Brunei.
- Emergency Shelter. Discussion and planning on how best to provide emergency shelter, both immediately and in the longer term, is ongoing and details will follow. Plans will make the most cost-effective use of all resources and willsupport the wider community, not just our WPs, SPs and Dependants.
Within UK, GWT have received over £1 Million in donations to their Earthquake Response Fund.
If you would like to help, please donate to the Gurkha Welfare Trust’s Earthquake appeal.