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Gurkhas help with relief effort after Nepal rescue

The view from Major Andrew Todd's tent minutes after one of the after shocks on Sunday. Photo: G200E EMN-150430-113223001
The view from Major Andrew Todd's tent minutes after one of the after shocks on Sunday. Photo: G200E EMN-150430-113223001

A Gurkha expedition team who managed to survive the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal, whilst climbing Mount Everest, have been working tirelessly to help rescue others.

The Gurkha 200 Everest Expedition 2015, who had joined forces with Robert Loomes and Co from Stamford and Cambridge charity The Mountain Trust on a charity trek, were climbing Everest when the earthquake and avalanche struck, killing more than 5,000 people and injuring at least 10,000.

The team, who were carrying handmade English wristwatches made for them by Robert Loomes at his base in St Mary’s Hill, Stamford, for the climb of a lifetime, had to be rescued by helicopter after being stuck for two days above Base Camp because of the impassable icefall.

The 7.8 magnitude quake which struck on Friday last week, sent tremors through the Kathmandu Valley and the nearby city of Pokhara, setting in motion an avalanche which swept the face of Mount Everest.

Thankfully the team of Gurkha’s were airlifted to safety down at Base Camp, but they then had the impossible task of helping to assist in the relief efforts.

All of the team’s tents had been destroyed by the ice and their kit was strewn up to 1,000 metres across the icefall.

The Gurkhas have spent the last few days throwing themselves into the much needed relief effort with the unenviable task of digging crushed tents out of the snow and coordinating relief work on the mountain.

During the disaster, climbing leader Captain Dick Gale, who was in Stamford to collect the wristwatches back in March, was tasked with uniting all the high altitude climbers who were above the avalanche.

The Everest Gurkha Expedition Team have now left Base Camp. They paid respect to those who lost their lives before leaving for Periche, en route to Kathmandu. They are continuing to help local villagers as they travel.

Robert Loomes was relieved to hear that the team were all okay.

He said: “Not only are all the team okay, but all of the Sherpas who were climbing with them are fine. It’s a credit to their professionalism.

“We are hugely proud of what they have achieved. The work they are doing out there is exceptional.”

The Mountain Trust, which has pioneered health, education and human rights in Nepal for more than 15 years, has launched an emergency aid fund, The Mountain Trust Emergency Relief Appeal for Nepal, which has raised more than £10,000 and is coordinating medical aid worth more than $6m.

The Mountain Trust desperately needs more funds to pay for more tents, food, water and clothing and is continuing its appeal to raise more funds.

Most recently the charity has confirmed that aid relief workers in Kathmandu will deploy a drone to help map affected areas and quantify the number of buildings destroyed. The drone will have the capacity to take photos and video and will be key in determining where rescue teams are needed most.

It comes as more harrowing images emerge from Nepal where the government and infrastructure is struggling to cope with the worst earthquake to hit in more than 80 years.

To make a donation to The Mountain Trust Emergency Relief Appeal visit https://www.justgiving.com/NepalDisasterRelief

l Robert Loomes and Co is also raising vital funds in aid of the Nepal disaster, with the raffle of one of the £4,000 expedition wristwatches that were specially handmade for the Gurkha climbing team, to mark 200 years of the Gurkhas serving in the British Army.

Tickets will be £10 each, with all of the proceeds going to Nepal. The winning ticket will be drawn by Joanna Lumley on May 29 in London.

For more information about the raffle or to buy tickets please telephone 01780 481319.


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