My name is Echo Giesel Widmer. I came to Nepal on a climbing expedition with my expedition leader Don Bowie, and two other professional climbers Ben Erdmann, and Jess Roskelly. I was here to film with two other film makers Cody Tuttle, and Scott Rogers. After 25 days living at base-camp, everything changed in a moment around 11:25 AM that morning. A 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook our world for many moments. The entire camp fled. At first I thought it was a avalanche or an epic ice serac fall. But after many moments of no snow or ice flooding into camp, I realized it was an earthquake. I ran as fast as I could behind my teammates.
70,000 houses had been destroyed
Hospitals’ capacity had been severely reduced
Fuel is urgently needed to pump ground water and maintain hospital services
4.2 million people were in urgent need of water
3.5 million people need food assistance, including 1.4 million people with priority needs
Karma Flights is a long standing local organization with government support that has been assigning available medical and general aid support to the small villages most affected by the earthquake. Most of these villages have not been contacted after the initial tremors due to the difficulty of overland travel, and the destruction of roads and mountain passes. The UN estimates that 8 million people have been affected by this devastating earthquake. Thousands of villages have been destroyed including many of the medical clinics and schools. Don’s EMT training will be of immediate assistance to people who might not receive any other aid for many days.
Our team of climbers set out to travel to these villages to make contact and assess damage and casualties. As an “eyes on” recon team they are relaying this info back to Karma Flights for the allocation of aid supplies. Right off the bat we’ve experienced difficulties. One of our jeeps lost the brakes and rolled off the road, totaling the vehicle. Luckily no one was injured, and the team carried on as far as they could into the heart of the Gorkha region. Upon reaching impassable roads, the team is now on their third day on foot, trekking into unreachable, but highly affected remote villages as first responders.
We’ve haven’t had contact with the team in over 16 hours due to intermittent cell and satellite reception, however last we heard they’re attempting to get more aid and supplies to the many villages in need. One village, Barpak, lost all of its 1400 homes, with many dead. All the residents are sleeping in makeshift shelters and the team brought up 1000kg of food, making a small dent in the needs of the villagers. The water supply is non-existent and our team is filtering water out of puddles next to the road so that they can continue on. Many of the dozens of villages in this area are in the same shape.
Our goal is to garner as much international support as possible to continue reaching out to these uncontacted villages, and help them with their immediate needs: food, water and shelter. As mountain climbers our team is self-sufficient, travels quickly and therefore in a unique position to reach these villages and help allocate aid. We’re hoping to get other companies and organizations within the outdoor industry to help spread the word and provide support. Nepal is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and the Himalayas are a sacred place to adventure, known around the globe.
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Waves for Water