Rescue to Recovery


I have probably driven the route I took today into the Sindhupalchok district well over 100 times in the last 25 years. Today it looked unrecognisable in places as we drove through cleared landslides, broken homes and complete towns flattened to the ground. A somber sight for anyone to see, let alone to have to witness and live through the event itself. As I walked through Lamosangu the destruction was like a scene straight from a Hollywood disaster movie, only very real. 45 People died in this small town.

Driving through the cleared roads you could see vehicles knocked down the steep sided valley as a result of landslides in the area. I was told that during the earthquake over 100 people had died in vehicles along this stretch of road.

This area has had it tough – not least because of events last year. Many reading this may have seen the news reports of half a mountain sliding down into the valley and damming the river. The result was again devastating for this region as it submered homes and roads along the Bhote Kosi river. They had just come to terms and had started to recover from this, and now have another disaster to cope with. As I drove over the terrain crossing this landslide it just reminded me that these events in Nepal have happened on such a massive scale, and hard to comprehend when you just see it on TV.

Amid everything the people of Nepal have been through, their desire to assist with the rescue, provide aid and shelter, and rebuild their communities, is so outstanding and admirable.

Immediately after the earthquake they mustered their own teams to go out and search, rescue and provide aid into the remotest areas of the country. These were not professional rescue teams, but the teams of Nepalese that work together on a daily basis. I’m referring to the guides. Trekking guides, Mountain bike guides and river guides and the operators they work for have been the heroes of this disaster. They are used to the daily rigor’s of planning, remote travel, logistics, shelter, food and know the country so well – its what they do on a daily basis. Whilst many I know have lost homes and have no work they have put others first and have been working around the clock in the furthest reaches of Nepal to help there fellow brothers and sisters.


Last night I met the guys from Paddle Nepal and good friend Min. They were working in the area and stayed at Sukute with us and where the opposite side of the country from where they are based. All of these teams have reacted like the true professionals they all are – I admire each and every one.

For those of us that work in the adventure travel industry our role is now to give them the best type of support we can, by bringing tourism back to Nepal in the coming seasons.

So it looks as though officially the ‘rescue’ phase is over and people are looking into the rebuild of their homes and communities and what is known as the recovery stage. There are still regular tremors, the latest I witnessed at 10.15 pm last night. Monsoon gave us a sample also yesterday, with Kathmandu taking a battering during the day with very high winds and rain. At Sukute it hit us late afternoon and was enough to take down a small tree on site! Of course there is also then the additional monsoon risk of further landslides with such unstable ground in the mountain.








The question is where do you start? They need homes before monsoon, but the rubble will take along time to move.

The reason I came out was not just to support friends and colleagues but to identify communities and projects on the ground that will need long term support. From the scale of the destruction I have witnessed this is exactly what is need – financial help going to those communities that need it.

I will post my last blog later today before flying home tomorrow, and write an example of how we can do for something for the people here, like this wonderful gentleman in the picture below I met today! I’ll share his story in the next blog.


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