I’ve been following the devastating results of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal on Saturday. Latest reports put the death toll over 4,600 souls and climbing with more than 9,000 injured. As this tiny nation struggles to cope with rescue efforts for it’s own citizens, another drama is playing out on Mt Everest, where several hundred foreign climbers, plus their Sherpa Climber guides and camp support staff are effectively stranded. According to this first hand account from Jon Kedrowski, a mountaineer at Everest Base Camp, the death toll may be as high as 20 with many more seriously injured. Up to 50% of base camp was completely destroyed.
Fortunately, many of the climbers were at Base Camps 1 and 2, higher up the mountain and, at least for now, they are unharmed and have provisions for about a week. Their return route to base camp is, however, cut off as the climbing route through the Khumbu Icefall was destroyed and the fixed ropes and ladders have been swept away. A team of specialist climbers, the “Icefall Doctors” maintain the route through the Icefall, their camp was destroyed and three members are dead.
In this video from Chris Tomers, you start to get a sense of the complexity and magnitude of the issues to get the stranded climbers out of Nepal.
- Will the weather hold and are their sufficient resources (helicopters, fuel, pilots) to rescue all the people stranded at higher camps?
- Can a new climbing route be established through the Icefall despite the terrible danger from aftershocks?
- Once the climbers can get back to Base Camp, many of them will find themselves homeless, their camps and provisions destroyed. Everyone will have to pool resources to survive.
- Base Camp is extremely remote. It’s unlikely that all climbers, sherpas and support staff can be airlifted out. This means trekking out, perhaps all the way to Kathmandu. No-one knows if the trail still exists and the condition of the small villages, where trekkers and climbers would seek shelter and provisions, along the way.
- And when they make it back to Kathmandu, which is all but destroyed, what medical aid, shelter and food will be available to them and when and how will they be able to fly home?
The Nepalese government and people are overwhelmed trying to cope with the devastation to their country, what resources can they dedicate to rescuing and assisting foreigners trapped on Everest and what is the priority?
What can we do to help? Check out the 3 ways you can help from the Red Cross:
The global Red Cross network, led by the Nepal Red Cross, has mounted an international relief effort to provide emergency humanitarian assistance following the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal. If you’re wondering how to help Nepal earthquake victims, you have three easy options:
1. Donate online to Nepal earthquake relief on redcross.org.
2. Visit your iTunes store to find a donation link.
3. Spread the word on relief efforts and ways to help online. Find and share information on social channels, including the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies Twitter account and our very own Facebook and Twitter posts.