Australian tourist Eve Barnes-Corby, has been one of the many to stay in Nepal to help with relief efforts after the devastating earthquake that happened last month. The disaster has left over 7000 people dead to date with that figure expecting to rise.
Barnes-Corby was in Nepal’s capital Kathmandu, just hours prior to the devastating earthquake that saw the city’s temples and buildings crumble in minutes.
Though the Australian government has advised tourists to leave Nepal, she has chosen to stay and assist with delivering supplies to smaller villages that were affected by the earthquake.
Barnes-Corby has been using donations sent from family and friends in Australia to buy and distribute supplies. “At the moment we’re taking jeep loads to one village at a time.” she said via email.
Barnes-Corby has been working closely with Nepali residents in order to assist the most affected areas. When asked how she’s figuring out which areas to go to first she said, “We’re becoming pretty connected with locals who know where things are needed most.”
With the help of other tourists and Nepali residents, Barnes-Corby has been able to send supplies like blankets, tarps and rice to the smaller communities in the Gorkha and the Rasuwa districts.
The most difficult challenge now according to Barnes-Corby is reaching the isolated villages that have been left without support after the earthquake.
Some of the people helping with this relief effort have resorted to delivering the supplies by foot, as it is too difficult for vehicles to reach some areas.
When explaining the situation in the small village of Khari, Barnes-Corby described it as being forgotten amongst the chaos this earthquake has caused. “About 200 houses were lost. Injured people had left the village to be treated but the rest of the village had not received any aid yet and we were the first people there delivering supplies.”
Just hours before the earthquake happened Barnes-Corby ended up taking a last minute trip to the lake town of Pokhara, which is about 200 km away from the city.
“We were really worried at first,” says her brother Zach. “We’re just really glad she’s safe and helping the people who are in a really bad place right now.”
Small businesses like the Up Beet Café in Katoomba are helping by donating all of their tips to assist Nepal.
Larger organisations like Western Union Money Transfer are helping with the relief effort by allowing their customers to send money to Nepal with no transfer fees.
Since the devastating earthquake the country’s residents have been struggling to receive basics like shelter and medicine as well as food and water.
Nepali resident Merina Maharjan was in Sindhupalchok, which is 65 km away from Kathmandu, when the earthquake happened. The district has experienced massive amounts of damage to houses, temples and buildings due to the disaster.
“I was there for four days. We had no food, no tents. All night in the rain. Dead animals, dead people. I can’t explain what I went through.” Maharjan said via email. She went on to explain that the area has been badly affected by landslides and large boulders falling onto homes and people.
Maharjan was working with the Nepali organisation The Last Resort, who have been helping people get medical treatment as well as evacuating them to safer areas.
Residents of Nepal have criticised their government for the delayed response to the earthquake. “The government hasn’t helped the place at all,” Maharjan said. “No help is reaching the needful.”
Maharjan’s main criticism is the lack of advice or assistance being given to citizens. According to her the only official people to visit her have been engineers to survey the damage of her house.
One top priority now is providing people who have lost their homes with shelter as Nepal’s monsoon season approaches.
For the Nepalese, the focus now is on rebuilding Nepal back to its former glory with Maharjan stating she hopes “that we are going to make our country more beautiful. I hope nature is going grant us its love again.”
Nepal hasn’t experienced a natural disaster like this since 1934 when a magnitude 8.0 earthquake occurred.
For anyone who wants to donate to help with the relief efforts in Nepal as well as see updates about the situation, you can visit www.lastresortquakefund.org.