Six months on from the devastating earthquakes in Nepal, the Himalayan Trust would like to thank all the generous New Zealanders who helped to raise more than $1 million for its Earthquake Rebuild Appeal.
The earthquake on April 25, followed by a second quake in May killed close to 8,900 people and destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes, schools, health facilities and temples across the country.
“This was one of the worst natural disasters in Nepal’s history and we want to thank all the New Zealanders who have shown immense generosity to help the people of Nepal at their time of need,” says Prue Smith, General Manager of the Himalayan Trust.
“We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support since the earthquakes. As well as making donations, people have been raising money for our Rebuild Appeal in so many creative ways including pianothons, Fiver for Ed days and walking, running or cycling the height of Mt Everest.”
Next year, the Himalayan Trust is offering an opportunity for New Zealanders to visit the Trust’s work in the Everest region one year after the earthquake, to help with the rebuild of a local school. The Trust has been working in Nepal since 1960, when Sir Edmund Hillary built the first school in the Khumbu region. The Himalayan Trust Nepal Rebuild Challenge is a 17-day trek through the stunning mountainous region which will include visits to village schools and the famous Khunde hospital all built by Sir Ed and the Himalayan Trust.
“We are excited to be able to offer kiwis the chance to continue Sir Ed’s legacy in the mountains, getting to know and working alongside the local people as they rebuild their schools,” says Ms Smith.
Now the monsoon has ended, the Trust’s long-term response is underway. Of the 63 schools supported by the Trust, many sustained serious damage. The Trust will be rebuilding classrooms, teachers’ quarters, student hostels and toilet blocks in up to 30 schools.
“We are estimating it may take five years to repair and rebuild all the damaged buildings in the isolated Everest region where we work, particularly as we want to make sure the new classrooms meet seismic-resilient building codes to better ensure the safety of children and teachers in case of a similar disaster,” Ms Smith adds.
Thanks to the support of New Zealanders, the Himalayan Trust was able to distribute tarpaulins, tents, bedding and essential items immediately following the disaster; build emergency houses for families who had lost everything; and provide temporary classrooms that meant 6000 school children were back in class just three weeks after the second quake.
Spaces for the Rebuild Challenge are limited to 16 trekkers, for more information or to book, please visit www.himalayantrust.org/trek