accessibility & help

Sherpas take on new challenge – getting aid to earthquake survivors

22 May 2015

Nepal’s world famous Sherpas are the new weapon in the fight to reach earthquake survivors.

The Red Cross and other agencies will use the mountain guides to bring aid to parts of the country devastated by last month’s earthquake.

Getting help to remote and mountainous areas has been a major challenge – particularly after a second earthquake hit the country on 12 May.

So agencies including the Red Cross and UN World Food Programme are set to recruit thousands of Sherpas, better known for helping mountaineers climb the Himalayas.

The guides will hike to remote areas with relief supplies such as blankets and tarpaulins.

Elite mountain climbers are already on the ground to map out possible routes, getting information about landslides and villages in need of help.

Sherpas 'to carry 30kg each'

The Sherpas will each carry around 30 kilogrammes of goods, including Red Cross shelter kits containing tarpaulins, blankets, duvet, and a kit of household items.

Ben Webster from British Red Cross said: “Volunteers from Nepal Red Cross have already been trekking for many miles to isolated areas.

"This plan to use the skills of climbers and Sherpas will help bring shelter and other vital aid to families living in the mountains.”

Shelter is still the biggest priority for survivors. Last Tuesday’s second major earthquake destroyed thousands more homes.

In the Dolakha and Sindhupalchok districts where more than 90 per cent of buildings have been reduced to rubble and thousands of people killed.

More than 225,000 people – roughly the population of Aberdeen – are now sheltering under Red Cross tents and tarpaulins, with tens of thousands more due to get shelter help in the coming days and weeks.

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