Durangoan ‘broken’ by the scene in Nepal


Durangoan ‘broken’ by the scene in Nepal

Karma Bhotia: Where to begin to help?

Nepal after the earthquake

Durango has connection to base camp on Mount Everest

Two people with Durango connections who were at Everest base camp are safe after an earthquake-induced avalanche roared through April 25, killing an estimated 19 people.
Jon Kedrowski coaches each summer at a Fort Lewis College basketball camp through a connection with his friend, associate men’s head coach Bob Pietrack. He was attempting this spring to climb and ski down 27,940-foot-high Lhotse, next to Mount Everest on the Nepal-Tibet border.
Kedrowski stated in his blog that climbing season is over because of the avalanche, although Nepalese officials have stated that it might be possible to still regroup. The season also ended prematurely in 2014, when an April avalanche in the Khumbu Icefall killed 16 Sherpas setting up the route through the tricky area.
Kedrowski, who has a doctorate in environmental geography, took pains in his blog to point out that the bigger story of the earthquake is the damage to Kathmandu and environs and getting relief to those who need it. Late last week, he was in Namche Bazaar, waiting to descend to Lukla and make his way back to the U.S. by air.
He said the blast from compressed air created by the avalanche was comparable to a Category 3 hurricane.
“The geography of the glacier and the geometry of the landscape in Everest Basecamp was the deciding factor as to who and what were impacted by the blast,” he wrote in his blog. “In some places, people in tents were perhaps sheltered by a surrounding rock or moraine, and the blast did nothing to them. In other cases, the gust of wind from the blast flattened everything in its path and tossed items such as duffel bags, computers, supply barrels and climbing gear further toward Nuptse and across the Khumbu Glacier.”
To check out Kedrowski’s blog about the avalanche and aftermath, visit bit.ly/1JE9Tfh.
Pasang Bhote, a Nepalese and Everest climbing guide, is on the board of directors of the Karma and Jyamu Bhotia Foundation created by the Bhotias, who live in Durango. Pasang Bhote was a guide on the foundation’s 2014 trip to the Bhotkhola region of northeastern Nepal. The trip included 12 Durangoans.
In the days after the avalanche, Pasang Bhote contacted Karma Bhotia to tell him he was fine. However, two other Nepalese guides from the Bhotkhola region at base camp were not so lucky: A man from the village of Rukuma died, and a man from Honggaon was evacuated by helicopter but is expected to survive, Karma Bhotia said.

To help

Those wanting to help people in Nepal can do so through a variety of nonprofit organizations, including the Durango-based Karma and Jyamu Bhotia Foundation and a fund set up at the Bank of the San Juans:
Karma and Jyamu Bhotia Foundation: http://bhotiafoundation.org/. The foundation was set up to help the villages around Chyamtang in northeastern Nepal, but it will be able to funnel donations to worthy earthquake-related causes, such as helping people rebuild homes, Karma and Jyamu Bhotia said. The foundation has an all-volunteer, unpaid staff.
Bank of the San Juans: Checks can be made payable to Bank of the San Juans (at any branch), with “Nepal Community Relief Fund” in the memo line. Donations will go to the local Nepalese community members to help their families rebuild homes and provide necessities in the meantime. For more information, email Maureen May at maymaureen@yahoo.com.
Other national and international disaster-relief charities that are taking monetary donations:
Save the Children: http://bit.ly/1FnSxAJ.
Red Cross: http://rdcrss.org/1z2PY5L.
The organization Charity Navigator has vetted nonprofits to determine those that are worthwhile.
Its list: http://bit.ly/1dq0hHH.

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