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Nepal Update 5/27/15
Lightning Strike hits camp...
A monster nighttime thunderstorm with torrential monsoon rains swept through our Gorkha campsite late in the night. One huge bolt hit our camp, and Daniel got zapped in his tent by high voltage ground current. He reports that he saw a blue arc flash across his metal tripod, lighting up the inside of his tent with a simultaneous electrifying jolt that ran through his left arm...still tingling today but functional. It was raining so hard, with so much thunder and lightning that no one knew he had been hit. It was a close one, as we were far more worried about earthquakes and landslides than lightning.
The road to upper Gorkha got washed out by the heavy rains so we had to adjust plans accordingly. We distributed shelters to the locals yesterday, and demonstrated the set-up techniques, so they were already en route the various villages by tractor, motorcycle and foot, accompanied by members of our Mission Himalaya team to supervise construction. We also restocked the local health posts and treated numerous patients. With the pre-monsoon rains upon us we retreated using a jeep trail, dodging herds of goats, wash outs and slides, and re-crossed the Trisuli River. Because we had a bit of extra time, we decided to head to Pokhara. Even the main paved road was washed out in places and, in one section, they had spotters watching for large rocks tumbling down the mountainsides into the road. The spotters would signal traffic to stop, as rocks the size of trash cans rolled down across the road, then signal for us to rush across the danger zone a couple of vehicles at a time.
Once we arrived in Pokhara we met with our eye-project monks at Pema Ts'al Sakya Monastic Institute, and also with our partners at The Himalaya Eye Hospital. Our present plan is to head back to Kathmandu tomorrow in order to evaluate earthquake damage in several of the smaller and poorer surrounding communities.
Nepal Update 5/25/2015
Latest news is that the blockage of the Kali Gandaki River has opened up and the river is flowing again. Kathmandu had a dust/ wind storm that briefly closed the airport due to sheets of corrugated iron blowing off rooftops across the runway. Otherwise it is just really hot and humid.
Our truck is being loaded with the medical supplies, food, and over two thousand pounds of relief shelters, and we are soon headed out overland for Gorkha District, the epicenter of the massive earthquake, a roughly six hour journey. We are also taking a "Sherpa" support team to assist with shelter construction, and will all be camping in tents. So far the monsoon rains are holding off, which is a really good thing for travel on the unimproved dirt roads. Our plan is to eatablish a base camp within the district, in a spot relatively safe from earthquakes and avalanches, and then make daily expeditions to the local VDC's to set up the school shelters, treat patients, and re-establish the local health posts. Apparently Kathmandu had an additional aftershock last night but we were all too tired to notice.
Communications are minimal in Gorkha so it is unlikely we will be able to send updates for a few day. I will try to send a satellite text message if time and circumstances permit.
Onward to Gorkha...
Photo Credit Daniel Byers
Nepal Update 5/24/2015
Mingma Sherpa from Thamo Village stopped by our Dooley Intermed/Mission Himalaya headquarters in Kathmandu today with an emergency request for shelters for the monks from Thame Monastery, in the Khumbu region. Minima, a professional guide, has climbed Mt. Everest 9 times, and his famous cousin Apa has summited the worlds highest peak 21 times, the world record. Dooley President Scott Hamilton first met Apa during a climbing expedition back in 1994.
The Thame Monastery was very badly damaged by the recent earthquake and had to be evacuated. The monks are in desperate need of shelter, living in the open at 3,750m elevation and facing the rapidly approaching monsoon.
Dooley Intermed is pleased to provide 5 dome shelters, now planned for a helicopter trip tomorrow morning to Lukla Village. From Lukla the shelters will be hand carried for an additional 3 hours to the monks.
One of five relief shelters now headed to Thame Village in the Khumbu Region of Nepal
L to R; Bibhu Thakur, Chairman of Mission Himalaya, Scott Hamilton, President of Dooley Intermed, Mingma Sherp
Fundraiser at the Explors Club was a great sucess!
Dooley Intermed's Fundraiser at the Explorers Club last night was a great success! Thank you to everyone who contributed their time and efforts to help support the earthquake victims in Nepal...below : Standing Scott Hamilton, President and Program Director of Dooley Intermed, Dr. N. Stuart Harris,Chief, MGH Dept. of EM, Division of Wilderness Medicine Fellowship Director, Khenpo Pema Wangdak, Buddhist Monk and Founder of the Pema Ts'al Monastic Institute, Pokhara, Nepal and Dr. Verne Chaney, President Ret. and Founder Dooley Intermed International.
Nepal Earthquake Update 5/14
“Hot Kitchen" Program Expands
& Dooley Refugee Shelters en route to Nepal
Our Dooley Intermed supported Nepal partner, Mission Himalaya, has expanded our “Hot Kitchen” program to 3 new areas; Gyampe Dada, Lele Ward, and Nalu Ward, providing free hot meals and supplies to hungry villagers left homeless by the earthquake. Dooley is also very pleased to welcome Bridge Foundation, whose contributions have allowed Dooley & Mission Himalaya to expand our free meal program for earthquake victims..
Meanwhile we are pleased to report that 5 freight pallets of refugee shelters are on their way to Nepal via air freight. These are dome type structures, 14’ in diameter capable of safely sheltering an entire family. Several larger units will be used as all-weather schools, medical clinics, or distribution centers. With the monsoon rapidly approaching, there is great urgency in providing adequate shelter to the earthquake refugees, many of whom are presently huddled under plastic tarps. Our Dooley Intermed shelter shipment arrived in Istanbul this morning, and should arrive in Kathmandu within the next day or so.
The Explorers Club, Dooley Intermed International, and the Massachusetts General Hospital Wilderness Medicine Fellowship cordially invite you to a Yak Tea & cocktail reception to benefit victims of the Nepal earthquake.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015 from 6 to 8 p.m. at
The Explorers Club,
46 E. 70th Street, NY, NY 10021
Dr. Verne Chaney, recipient of The Explorers Club Sir Edmund Hillary Humanitarian Award, and Founder, Dooley Intermed International
N. Stuart Harris MD MFA FRCP Edin.
Chief, MGH Dept of EM, Division of Wilderness Medicine
Fellowship Director, MGH Wilderness Medicine Fellowship
Ted Janulis, President, The Explorers Club
$100 min. donation per ticket – 100 percent of all ticket sales will go to help rebuild homes and lives in Nepal, divided evenly between Dooley Intermed and MGH Wilderness Medicine Fellowship.
In appreciation of their support all guests will receive a ceremonial kata scarf An early sellout is expected, please RSVP email@example.com, 212 628 8383
Unable to attend? Donations gratefully accepted at dooleyintermed.org and massgeneral.org.
Earthquake Update 5/9
Rescue Mission Success !
Pre-monsoon rains forced a 24 hour delay in our Dooley Intermed / Mission Himalaya relief helicopter flight to Kashi Gaun village in the Gorkha region. However a brief break in the weather earlier today allowed the relief flights to take place! Over 2 tons of food and supplies were successfully delivered to the isolated and desperate village. The response from the villagers was overwhelming. Our on-site aid director, Basanta, reports;
“I am pleased to inform you that the first relief Aid from Dooley Intermed reached to Kashi Gaun in Upper Gorkha safely and I can't explain by word to you the happiness of the local people we had witness over there. We had also got the huge public support!! Thanks you so much for everything's that you have done for our Country.”
“… now people have seen our work and many organizations has a big trusts on us and we are getting continues calls asking for the support. Now people from two different districts and VDC's are asking for a immediate relief supplies such as tarps, food stuff, medicine etc. Please let me know weather we are in position to help them or??”
Dooley Intermed has already replied “YES” to the plea for emergency aid from the two additional districts. However, our resources are stretched thin and the ongoing need is enormous. The villages at the epicenter of the massive Nepal earthquake need a lot of help, and Dooley Intermed is on the job, often going to places where other organizations cannot or will not go.
Continued support by our donors, people like you, is having a huge positive impact, helping people in desperate need in the heart of the earthquake zone. Thank you for your support!
Nepal Update 05/07/2015
Helicopter Rescue Mission ....
Our Dooley Intermed sponsored team at Mission Himalaya in Kathmandu is currently responding to an urgent plea for help coming from Kashi Gaon Village. The villagers are in dire straits due to the earthquake and resulting landslides blocking all the usual access routes for supplies. Local officials have advised the situation is critical, and have specially requested our Dooley / Mission Himalaya team try to expedite relief aid by all possible means. Today we dispatched 2 tons of vital basic necessities including noodles, biscuits, rice, salt, sugar and cooking oil etc., along with soap and sanitation items overland by vehicle to Aurghat Village…literally at the end of the road. In normal times goods would continue onward by mule caravan or porter, but the steep mountain trails were obliterated by landslides caused by the earthquake. Overland transport is currently impossible and the village is unreachable by conventional means, so our team at Mission Himalaya has chartered a helicopter. The chopper is scheduled to depart Kathmandu at 8am tomorrow morning (tonight USA time), flying via Aurghat Village, where we have staged the relief goods. Due to limited lifting capability, the helicopter will require 4 shuttle runs between Aurghat and Kashi Gaon in order to deliver all the urgently needed supplies to the isolated and desperate village. Two of our most trusted and experienced local agents, Basanta and Arjun are personally coordinating the effort, accompanied by Matt, a dedicated supporter from the Dubai based charity Gulf For Good who is helping raise funds to cover the helicopter costs to deliver this vital aid. This will also give our team a first-hand look at the village so we can formulate an ongoing plan to provide needed aid, and assist with rebuilding. These missions are not without risk, so fingers crossed for safety and success of our Dooley /Mission Himalaya rescue mission.
Nepal Earthquake Relief Update 5/5/2015
Dooley Intermed’s response to the Nepal earthquake is helping hundreds of people in need daily. Working hand-in-hand with our Kathmandu based partners at Mission Himalaya we are providing food, clean water, and supplies to villagers who have been left homeless. We are pleased to report that all the children at our orphanage in the Sakhu Valley survived uninjured and that our orphanage building, of modern construction, emerged unscathed.
We are actively searching for any children who had both parents killed in the earthquake so that we can provide them with a safe and secure new home at our orphanage. In the meantime our Dooley funded MH team reached Bal Mandir, Nepal's largest orphanage where we had received information that babies and children were suffering outdoors in the rain without proper food, clothing or shelter. Our team delivered food, diapers, baby formula, and included three doctors who treated the sick children many suffering from flu and chest congestion. Thanks to Dr. Trishna Chand Thakur, Dr. Prajeeta Bhandari, Dr. Kristina Pradhan and Ana Gurung. And, of course special thanks to Bibhu Thakur who runs our partner organization, Mission Himalaya, in Kathmandu and is personally coordinating our local relief effort.
We want to take a moment to thank everyone who has donated to Dooley Intermed during this epic crisis. Without your help these vital aid programs would not be possible. The need is ongoing. Many of the older building in Nepal suffered damage or complete collapse, often crushing adjoining dwellings. The situation is far worse in the outlying villages, especially near the earthquake epicenter in the Gorka region. And, the monsoon is approaching. The situation is not good, and there remains much to be done.
UPDATE 4/30/15 on Mission Himalaya
Mission Himalaya, with the support of Dooley Intermed International Foundation New York, launched its first "MH Help Center" in southern Lalitpur providing free Hot Meals, free Medicines services, distribution of rice, vegetables, biscuits, snacks, instant noodles, glucose, soap, toothpaste, etc. Also water purifier and pipes for drinking water, buckets, mugs, etc. Toilet cleaners, antiseptic stuffs, etc., for appx 300+ people.
The "Hot Kitchen" will commence from tomorrow.
Charu, Karishma, Kalyan, Purusottam, Nitesh, Kishore, Sujan, Ram, Bhagwan and local coordinators all did a fantastic job. This will move on from one village to another and on an "ongoing basis" !!
The Help Center's security was coordinated by a Nepal Army platoon
without whose presence there could have been a scene of looting !!
More will be posted by Mission Himalaya team when they get back to Kathmandu later tonight!
Thank you to Scott W. Hamilton, President of Dooley Intermed International Foundation!!
DISASTER RELIEF FUND
Nepal has experienced a catastrophic earthquake. The epicenter was in the Gorka region, roughly midway between Pokhara and Kathmandu. The aftermath is almost indescribable, with thousands killed, and many thousands more trapped or missing. Entire villages have been destroyed. Multiple buildings have collapsed throughout the country, including many historical sites in the capital of Kathmandu. The electricity is out, and food and water are in limited supply, and aftershocks continue.
Miraculously our in-country personnel have all survived, yet are living outdoors, in tents, for fear of further building collapses.
This epic disaster is likely to get worse in the coming days with shortages of food, shelter, clothing, and a desperate need for supplies.
Donations are urgently needed. At this specific moment we are considering all options as to where your generous donations will do the most good. We know Nepal very well, and our team members on the ground in Nepal are in the best position to identify critical needs, places where your donations will make a genuine difference, helping people and communities who are suffering greatly. Your funds will go toward relief, aid, assistance to children, and to those in the greatest need.
Dooley Intermed has been working in Nepal for over half a century. We know and love the country and its people. They need our help now, more than ever. Please help. Every dollar counts, and we will do our level best to be sure it is used for the greatest benefit possible to help this country and its people get back on their feet.
Scott Hamilton, President
News from the Dooley Intermed Restore Vision Expedition 2015 (postponed due to the earthquake)
Nepal Earthquake Postpones Restore Vision Expedition 2015
Statement from Dooley Intermed International/Operation Restore Vision
April 27, 2015
Forty-eight hours before our team of ophthalmologists were to depart to Kathmandu for the Restore Vision Expedition, a devastating earthquake struck the capital city with loss of life in the thousands. The epicenter of the quake was in Upper Gorkha, the planned location for the Dooley Intermed/Operation Restore Vision eye camp set to open next week. This project has now been postponed.
Our partner, Himalaya Eye Hospital (HEH), has informed us that Upper Gorkha has had many injuries and much infrastructure damage such that the cooperative project we envisioned is simply not possible at this time. We have offered our team of doctors to HEH but they report very few people seeking care for eye injuries caused by the earthquake, most likely because of other more severe trauma.
It is a very difficult decision, but our team must be part of the solution, not an addition to the problem. Haiti was a prime example of how not to render aid, with numerous teams showing up with no infrastructure to support them, and no facility to work in. While we all want to jump in and help, we have been advised by our local contacts in Nepal to postpone our planned project until conditions are under control and we can deliver care effectively. Typically after a disaster like this orthopedic surgeons are in the highest demand due to crushing injuries and need for amputation.
In the meantime Dooley Intermed has transferred funds to our Kathmandu based agent, Mission Himalaya, so that we can react swiftly to provide vital assistance as targeted situations to provide aid are identified. We will stand ready to assist as much as possible, and wherever possible. Donations are being accepted at www.dooleyintermed.org
While we are thankful our trusted colleagues in Nepal are reported safe, it pains us greatly to think of the loss of life among their friends and family. They will be in our prayers.
Dooley Intermed International
Ronald C. Gentile
Operation Restore Vision
Thank You to our Sponsors and Supporters
In addition to Dooley Intermed International, the expedition is sponsored by ISMS-Operation Restore Vision (www.ismission.org/operation-restore-vision/), Sherpa Adventure Gear which is providing Nepal-manufactured outdoor apparel for the team (www.sherpaadventuregear.com), and Eureka High Camp Tents by Johnson Outdoors (www.eurekatent.com).
Supporters are: DeLorme inReach Explorer Two-Way Satellite Communicator with built-in Navigation, and Power Practical Portable Chargers.
Dooley Intermed International medical team heads to Nepal May 1-10th to
provide eye care to villagers in remote Gorkha region. Sherpa Adventure Gear will
supply 24-person team with functional, weather-ready outdoor apparel
Check back daily for Blog Updates from the field beginning April 29 thru May 10
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