Over the summer I interned for Imagine Travel to gain more experience in the travel industry, I worked closely with the Sales and Marketing team and acquired a lot of valuable new skills. During my time, I wrote a few blogs that were published on their site, the first, a piece about one of the charities Imagine Travel supported: The Cloudbase Foundation supporting KarmaFlights in Nepal.
One of the charities we have decided to support this year is The Cloudbase Foundation, a very worthy cause supporting the victims of the Nepal earthquakes. This charity supports KarmaFlights; originally a community of para-gliders, now a group of volunteers that were the first NGO to reach the area of Gorkha and provide assistance to one of the worst hit areas, very close to the epicentre of the earthquake.
The aftermath of the first large earthquake that measured a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale, leaving Nepal’s infrastructure in ruins and badly affecting the small remote villages of the Gorkha region, that were cut off due to landslides and rock-slides.
The Karmaflights team have been an on the ground operation, travelling as close to the remote villages as possible and providing vital supplies, consisting of tarps, blankets, food, water and basic medical attention. Due to the kind donations in the following days of the earthquake, the team managed to provide basic shelter and food supplies. The continuous aftershocks and tremors combined with the wet weather meant that this area was still in serious risk due to potential landslides.
5 days post earthquake, there was still no sign of major aid agencies reaching the Gorkha region, a CNN reporter noted the great work of KarmaFlights.(http://edition.cnn.com/2015/05/01/asia/nepal-earthquake/index.html) the only help operating right in the heart of the epicentre, who’d set up medical clinics and distributed much needed shelter and vital supplies, many of the displaced people arriving at the KarmaFlights camp were hungry, cold and exhausted because they had been sleeping in the rain for 4 nights.
Isabella Messenger, one of the KarmaFlights founders, posted on behalf of KarmaFlights that almost one week after the earthquake, tens of thousands of people in the valley system in Gorkha still hadn’t been reached with basic supplies. All the help forces were stretched so thin over the vast area of need, trying to provide medical triage and treatment as well as distributing supplies. In most cases, entire villages were destroyed – no homes left intact. People were in dire need of food and shelter, people had only received aid from KarmaFlights, some villagers were walking for up to 16 hours round-trip to visit the supply center for just a tarp and basic food to protect their villages from the pelleting pre-monsoon rains.
More than a week after the first earthquake, and the areas of Lamjung, Dhading and Nuwarkot still had not received any help, whole villages desperately needing basic resources, especially shelter, as the heavy pre-monsoon rains had already begun.
10 days post earthquake, KarmaFlights joined forces with Waves for Water who provide water filtration systems, these simple systems are very effective, able to provide enough clean water for over 30,000 people. Nepal’s main priority was to get school’s up and running within 2 weeks, although much of the infrastructure was unsafe. KarmaFligths distrubuted books, learning materials, tarps and rucksacks to help encourage school to recommence.
At the beginning of the third week, the NGOs continued to race against the clock trying to get critical supplies to villages in the Gorkha area before the monsoon prevents access to many of the villages. Corrugated iron shelters were distrubuted to withstand any more aftershocks and the heavy rainfall expected.
Although the KarmaFlights team have done and still are doing an amazing job, Nepal still needs your help. The reconstruction of the country will take a long time, especially as the areas close to the epicentre are completely ruined, with temporary housing. During the coming months of the monsoon, they are expecting more landslides.
By Lucy Pierce