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August 2015 - Update from Nepal: Earthquake in Nepal

With the end of August it is now over four months after the April Earthquake but the aftershocks are still happening on a daily basis.

The Nepal Government National Seismological Centre has been recording aftershocks of 4 or more on the scale and they number 389 up to 31 August. There have been a number of days over the last two months when aftershocks of more than 4 did not occur and recently the Nepal newspapers have quoted the Chief of the National Seismological Centre as saying this may be the beginning of them fading out. We can only hope this will be the case. When I call Nepal and enquire if the latest aftershock was felt it is often the case that it was not felt in Kathmandu, perhaps now I am more concerned here in UK than those in Nepal!!

In Kathmandu and other cities things are returning to normal with people trying to get on with their daily lives as best as they can. In some of the villages that were badly affected by the April earthquake life is still difficult, in some regions the Monsoon rains are adding to the difficulties.

Political situation:

Politics is back to centre stage with the government trying to complete the new constitution and many of the other parties and ethnic groups continue to protest. In the last month there have been many, often violent, demonstrations in Kathmandu, and around the country, against the government. Specifically in the southern part of the country these demonstrations have caused conflict with the police and there have been many deaths and injuries on both sides - police and demonstrators. There have been strikes and shutdowns throughout the country and because of the violence the authorities have imposed 24 hour curfews in a number of districts, these have been for many days at a time, and in places even declared as indefinite. The Nepal Army has been mobilised to some of the main conflict areas. All of this political chaos and unrest, together with deaths and injuries continue at this time, end August 2015.

The strikes and road closures are now preventing essential commodities such as fuel, cooking gas cylinders, various food items, from reaching Kathmandu and this has now caused shortages, and increased prices, at this time until end August.

Monsoon Period - June to September:

As well as the political chaos the Monsoon is causing considerably more difficulties than usual this year. In some of the hill areas that were affected by the earthquake the heavy rains are causing many more landslides and rock falls than usual during the monsoon period this year. With the ground and hillsides affected by the earthquake they are loose and the heavy rain is causing all the movement. In some areas rivers are flooding adding to the problems also. All of this has caused yet more deaths and injuries for the people who are already suffering from the affects of the earthquake. Even in Kathmandu and the valley large areas of the city has been flooded because of inadequate and damaged drainage systems.

Nepal Trekking in Nepal:

Since the April earthquake the family have been slowly getting back to normal life. Initially it was difficult with all the aftershocks causing concerns and at times deciding to stay outside in tents, with time, and as things became quieter, life began to return to normal. Fortunately our house in Kapan had no major structural damage and has been able to withstand the heavy monsoon rains at times in Kathmandu. Schools and colleges were closed for more than a month after the earthquakes. This will take some time to make up; this has been made worse by several periods of days, even weeks, when they have been closed again because of all the political unrest and strikes since middle of July and which continue to date.

The Nepali New Year starts in the middle of April, the school year also. Tshiring is now into the second year of his Bachelor Information Technology (BIT) course, and Kunga Doma is now in class 9. Hopefully they can both do their best to work hard on their studies after all the recent, and continuing, interruptions. Next year for Kunga is class 10 when she will take the School Leaving Certificate (SLC) This is equivalent to GCSE exams in UK and all the present disruption is not the best of preparation for what is an important year coming up. She does usually work well at her studies and it has been suggested that the schools may reduce some of the many 'festival holidays' to allow students to catch up with their studies.

I hope to be back in Nepal early in October. I can then see how things are getting back to normal and come up to date with colleagues at the offices in Kathmandu. If circumstances allow I would like to get out to Khumbu and up to Tengboche Monastery and see all my Sherpa friends and how they are getting over the effects of the earthquakes.

As always, we are very grateful to everyone who gives us support for our work direct in Nepal. Support both financially and with the continued supply of clothing for children and adults in the villages and in Kathmandu. Good quality used clothing for children, teenagers and adults, is always required (small and medium sizes for adults) and if you can help contact us by email/phone to arrange. Direct funding is always required and I take this opportunity to thank those who responded with a donation. We are still fundraising for the Sherpa people and for Tengboche Monastery after the earthquake and again if you or your friends can assist with a donation contact Denis. Our projects are ongoing and we look forward to continued support in the months and years ahead. If you can help with any of our projects, specifically the Earthquake Funding Appeal, or if you require any further information, please contact Denis direct (email and phone details enclosed). You can Make a Difference.

Denis Gallagher
Nepal Trekking
August 201