All our friends in Kathmandu are thankfully still alive although many have lost their homes.
Sadly the villages that we support were directly over the epicenter of the earthquake. The single dirt track that links Phulkharka with the rest of the world has been destroyed and even many of the footpaths are impassible. Even before the quake it was a 2 day walk to get there from the nearest town.
It wasn’t until yesterday, 4 days after the earthquake that an army helicopter finally reached the village. 98% of the buildings have collapsed and there are still many trapped under the rubble. The villagers can’t afford to use cement mortar so buildings are almost like dry stone walls held together with dried clay. Heavy roof timbers support even heavier stone roofs, the worst possible design in an earthquake prone area.
Fortunately the earthquake occurred during the day so most were helping in the fields and as it was a holiday mercifully none of the children were in school. The only people at home were the very elderly and the very young. We don’t know yet how many have been trapped.
Jyoti Adhikari who is the vice president of our charity was here with his family only a couple of weeks ago to attend our 10th anniversary celebration at Settle. He comes from Phulkharka and now owns a hotel in Kathmandu. As it is unlikely that any outside help will reach Phulkharka anytime soon he has organised a rescue mission himself using his staff and friends , many of whom originally came from the village.
Our charity has sent £3,000 to help him buy tents and essential foodstuffs but it is a drop in the ocean.