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October 2015 - Update from Nepal

I arrived in Nepal on 11 October and in the last two weeks or so I have been able to meet with friends and colleagues, and to phone others, and come up to date with their situation 5 months after the April 25 earthquake.

Fortunately everyone is OK but property loss, or damage, in the earthquake is still causing major problems to some. Yangji's Mother and Father, in Chaurikhaka village, are still living in a tent after their house was demolished by the earthquake. Their new house is under constructions with assistance from friends, from some Sherpa organisations and others. Funds donated to Nepal Trekking are helping also. Many other Sherpa families were affected in Chaurikhaka with many houses being damaged or demolished. Other Sherpa friends in Phakding and Benka are also slowly rebuilding houses and lodges.

I am hoping to go out to Khumbu and up to Tengboche Monastery I will then be able to see myself all the problems they still have almost 6 months after the major earthquake and continuing aftershocks. There was some damage to Tengboche Monastery but I understand repairs have been completed.

Political situation:

Since August the political situation, before and after the new constitution in September, has continued to make the daily lives of the people in Nepal very difficult. The blockade of the border crossing points by India has caused acute shortages of all types of fuel and cooking gas, as well as food and other daily items imported through India. In parts of the Terai, the border region with India, some Nepal political parties who are against the new constitution, and aligned with India, have forced total closure of businesses, schools etc. for more than 10 weeks.

Kathmandu International Airport has had to inform international airlines they are not able to refuel in Kathmandu airport, due to lack of aviation fuel, and must do so elsewhere outside of Nepal.

In Kathmandu some restaurants have closed temporally because no cooking gas is available. Some hotels, if they have any guests, cannot operate their kitchens/restaurants etc. Tourism is affected particularly badly with offices and transport companies having to restrict their journeys to airport pickup/departure etc. Many offices are closed with staff not able to travel conveniently.

At home in Kapan Yangji is cooking on a wood fire outside because of the shortage of gas. Other daily items such as cooking oil and rice is also beginning to be very difficult to find

As I end this update the Nepal government is negotiating with China to buy and import fuel through the Tibet border crossings. This could bring some relief from the blockade by India if talks can be successful.

Denis Gallagher
Nepal Trekking
October 201