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NZ adventurer reflects on Nepal quake

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 25/04/2016
Nepal earthquake: One year on

Parts of Nepal are recovering from last year's devastating earthquake, but other areas have seen no real assistance, New Zealand adventurer Guy Cotter adventurer says.

Mr Cotter was at Camp One on Everest with clients of NZ-based Adventure Consultants when the 7.8-magnitude quake struck on April 25, 2015.

It caused "mayhem around us", but those up the mountain were to discover an avalanche had destroyed the central part of base camp.

The avalanche killed 19 people, five of whom worked for Adventure Consultants, and another died in hospital in Kathmandu.

"The anniversary is both a time to remember those people who died in the earthquake and reflect upon the struggles of those still rebuilding their lives out of the destruction," said Mr Cotter, who is chief executive of Adventure Consultants.

A lot had changed one year on, he said.

Nepal was beset by a blockade by India, the Nepalese government could not formulate a national reconstruction committee due to political infighting, and winter went by with millions without a roof over their heads.

"Had it not been for the army, NGOs from abroad and volunteers from within Nepal and outside, almost no assistance would have gone to any of the earthquake victims in the immediate aftermath of the quake," he said.

He said the rebuilding in the Khumbu region had been astounding - to the point there was little sign of the damage after the earthquake.

"But this doesn't give a true representation of what isn't going on in the rest of the affected areas of the country, where entire regions have seen no real assistance, where everybody is still living under tarpaulins in makeshift shelters," he said.

Mr Cotter said tourism was vital to Nepal's recovery.

Kathmandu was operating much as it always had, and most of the trekking regions were open again, he said.

"I want to take this opportunity to remember those people who died in the earthquake and to think about those in my own team who we lost and are sadly missed, especially by their close-knit families," Mr Cotter said.

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