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Travel Advisory

Nepal Earthquake Update - Wednesday 20 May

We no longer have any groups in Nepal and hope all that have returned home following their treks over the earthquake period are doing well.

Since the second earthquake that struck last Tuesday, there have been daily aftershocks including the capital which is to be expected after an episode of its scale. While extremely sad that there has been further loss of life, the casualties have been few in comparison with the initial quake. One of the hardest hit areas was the Dolakha district east of Kathmandu. We also know that the Solu Khumbu (the Everest area below Lukla) was affected and that some of the medical and school facilities where we have conducted project work, with the involvement of our groups over the years, has sustained rather extensive damage – particularly in the region around Junbesi. Soren Kruse Ledet who is a lead mountaineering guide for World Expeditions departs this Sunday to travel up to the Solu Khumbu region to survey the villages and facilities.

Next week, our trekking guides will resume their surveillance in the regions north of Lukla in the upper Everest region. We postponed this work after the second earthquake. They will be reviewing the Everest Base Camp and Gokyo Valleys. Thame, in the valley adjacent to Gokyo will also be checked. Our recent phone contact with people in the villages of these valleys is that there is damage, but it is minimal in comparison with other regions. That said, it is important that we see this first hand and make our own assessments. Further, we will also be conducting a post monsoon inspection to ensure that the rainy season has not had any impact. 
Over in the Annapurna region, we too will resume the research of trails. While we know that the lower Annapurna regions, including the trails linked with our Annapurna Machapuchare, Ultimate Annapurna Dhaulagiri, Annapurna Trek & Classic Poon Hill are all in tact with little earthquake affect, our focus is on the upper Annapurna regions around the Thorong La and Jomsom.

What we can say is that things are looking positive for treks post monsoon for the Everest and Annapurna region treks that we operate. Support Nepal by trekking in Nepal.

We will update on the other regions (Dolpo, Kanchenjuga, Damodar, Great Himalaya Trail, Langtang, Manaslu to name just a few) as more comes to light and on that note, our intention is to send out surveillance teams in the coming months to ascertain conditions in those areas.

Between Kathmandu and Lhasa (Tibet) is the roadway known as the Friendship Highway. The border areas around Kodari, as we reported earlier, was affected in the initial earthquake which damaged a section of the road north on the Tibetan side. We have been advised that the Chinese have already sent road workers to rectify those sections and that government vehicles are using the road- yet civilian & commercial use is currently restricted. However, this is good news as it means that very soon the highway may be functional again.

For those interested in rebuild projects, we need to advise that this will take a little more time. Our aim is to wait for the aftershocks to subside and when confident, we’ll go to the schools in the villages we know we want to support and determine next steps. Our hope is that we will be able to make announcements by July.

As we reported earlier too, NSW SES generously donated 25 tarps, 400 blankets, 400 pairs of gloves and ropes that all arrived in Kathmandu today. These are going to be deployed as soon as possible to one of the most marginalized villages. We will provide details in the coming days.

An update on our 21 year old Ellie Locke (legend) – who you may recall had decided to raise money for the World Expeditions Foundation Earthquake Appeal, by taking a leap of faith and asked her community of family and friends to sponsor her quest to remove her ‘characteristic’ dreadlocks.. She writes “After the recent disaster in Nepal I decided to raise money for relief and reconstruction. If I reached my ambitious goal of $10 000, I vowed to shave off my dreadlocks which I've been growing and maintaining for 5 years. I sent many emails, put up posters at Uni, uploaded Instagram photos and raided my friends' Facebook feeds. I reached the $10K after 11 days of fundraising, and the figures are only rising! 
We’re told by Ellie they are coming off on Saturday week. We wish to congratulate Ellie on this most fantastic quest.

But, we also want to again acknowledge and sincerely thank all of our community – you have all been so connected to the cause and generous and you have our pledge that your donations will go straight to the roots where they are most needed.

Nepal Earthquake Update - Monday 18 May

We have prepared the following information about Nepal for the benefit of clients who have a future trek booked with World Expeditions to Nepal.

WILL IT BE SAFE TO TRAVEL TO NEPAL POST MONSOON?

We are confident that trekking and travel in Nepal will be safe when the tourism season resumes in September. The safety of our travellers and staff is our number one concern and an ongoing review of all trekking regions leading up to the season opening will focus solely on that.

Immediately after the earthquakes of 25 April and 12 May, trips about to depart could not be operated because workers across the country temporarily left their workplaces to be with and assist their families in their mountain villages. Internal flights had few pilots or crew, hotels were seriously short staffed and many who were unaffected were assisting with the relief effort.  Emergency services were deployed for surveillance and rescue operations. These are characteristic of the first wave of response to a natural disaster of this scale.

That phase has passed.  The focus now turns to rebuilding damaged infrastructure and people getting back to their lives. All the international hotels in Kathmandu and in the larger cities are now functional and operating normally. Large numbers of people who left Kathmandu after the earthquake have returned to their work places. Schools and universities are generally now all open.  The international and domestic airports are functioning normally.

The large hospitals in Kathmandu which were initially overwhelmed with patients have worked through the emergency response and have now recommenced regular out-patient services while all the general surgical units have become functional.

The CIWEC Medical Clinics in Kathmandu and Pokhara are open and running as usual.

Various mountain regions across Nepal have been affected quite badly with heavy human casualties, destruction of homes and schools and decimation of crops. The lower Langtang and Helambu were possibly the worst hit regions.  Others have escaped the impact of the earthquake with very little major damage. The majority of the World Expeditions treks take place in the Everest (Khumbu) and Annapurna regions, both of which escaped major damage. The Solu Khumbu (in the lower Khumbu Everest region south of Lukla) was affected but it is important to know that the Upper Khumbu which is from Lukla and north was not.  All of our treks into the Everest region commence from Lukla and head north.

The main trails in the Annapurna and Everest regions are continually in use by local people as well as the end of season trekkers since the earthquakes. Bridges on the main trails in these two regions are all intact. Some lodges in the Everest region have been damaged but building materials are already being flown in and local labour organized to restore them.  All World Expeditions permanent campsites in both regions, with exception of two of the Everest camps, were not affected. The two that were damaged have repair work scheduled in the next few weeks.

World Expeditions guides are in the field now conducting a complete audit of all the trail conditions, bridges and infrastructure in these two specific regions, also checking the arterial areas. Thereafter, all other trekking areas in which World Expeditions conducts treks will also be carefully assessed including Manaslu, Makalu, Mustang, Dolpo, Kanchenjunga, Rolwaling, Upper Langtang and others. We will provide updates as soon as we have completed our surveys.

Between now and September, we’ll also be consulting with a range of organisations, including the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and expert seismologists to establish the country is safe.

WHY NEPAL NEEDS TOURISM MORE THAN EVER

Nepal is special. Its home to the world’s highest peak, clusters of Himalayan ranges and the hard working people who live amongst them. Collectively, they have inspired, challenged and brought positive change for travellers from around the globe who seek to experience Nepal’s majesty and the warmth of the mountain villagers.  Now, more than ever, they need something back from us.

Tourism is the single largest industry in Nepal. From employees of its busy airline industry to the small Sherpa trader selling handicrafts alongside a trekking trail, almost every Nepalese person benefits from tourism. These earthquakes are something that the country can – and will -  recover from.  However, if there were to be a sizeable decline in tourism numbers to the country post monsoon (from September onwards), the knock on effect of a major economic crisis would have further negative consequences for the nation.

HOW CAN I HELP?

Donate - There are numerous charities you can donate to. World Expeditions encourages those wishing to make a tax deductable donation to do so through the World Expeditions Foundation and its Earthquake Appeal Fund. The Foundation responded quickly with the deployment of food drops to the hardest hit villages north of Kathmandu in the two weeks following the earthquake. This included 1000s of kgs of rice, lentils, cooking oil, sugar and salt for more than 4,500 households. With its strong focus on supporting education, its mid to longer term plans will be to help restore badly damaged schools so that young people living in mountain villages can return to receiving their education.

Travel there next season – The earthquakes that struck Nepal on 25 April and 12 May occurred at a time when the major trekking season was nearing an end in the lead up to the monsoon.  It is expected that the rebuild over the coming 5 months will restore essential infrastructure so that travellers can be confident that Nepal will be ready once again to welcome trekkers when the new season gets underway in mid September.  Nepal’s economy is intrinsically reliant on tourism and we appeal to travellers to continue supporting the country by travelling to this wonderful Himalayan destination when the new season resumes.

Our advocacy for supporting a return to Nepal is without commercial bias. We are committed to doing all we can to ensure that Nepal does not suffer a further crisis caused by an economic downturn that ha the potential to affect millions of people.

WILL I BE A BURDEN?

Quite to the contrary.  Many Nepalese rely upon tourism to supplement the income they earn through subsistence farming while others are wholly reliant on tourism income. The people of Nepal need tourism employment.

The roads to and from India are open and supplies to Nepal, as is the norm, mean that the supermarkets in Nepal are fully stocked.  There are currently no shortages, nor is it considered there will be leading up to the new season. Nepal’s tourism infrastructure will be ready for the typically busiest trekking time of the year.

World Expeditions treks run in a self sufficient manner. We stock up on supplies for the trekking days from the city. Our private permanent and wilderness camps are not taking away shelter from others. The staff we employ are well looked after. Learn more about our Responsible Travel policies in Nepal by downloading our responsible travel booklet that can be accessed from the world Expeditions website.

World Expeditions will continue to post updates on Nepal over the coming months on Facebook as well as under the travel advisory section of the website which sits under a tab on the top menu bar. Please stay in touch and contact your consultant if you have any concerns or would like to ask specific questions about the recovery process, safety matters or preparing for your trek ahead.

Nepal Earthquake Update - Tuesday 12 May

Around lunchtime today in Nepal, a new earthquake struck 76km's east of Kathmandu measuring 7.3. The epi centre was in the Rolwaling area which is west of the Everest region. We wish to advise that we have spoken with our Kathmandu base where it is reported that all of our Kanchenjunga trek members who are in the capital have been accounted for and are safe. We've been advised that there is minimal damage in the area around the Radisson Hotel and road traffic from there to the airport is flowing normally.

Nepal Earthquake Update- Monday 11 May

Our Kanchenjunga Base Camp group arrived back into Kathmandu yesterday, safe and happy. This means that we have no more groups out in Nepal until the season resumes in September. Over the next few days they’ll be leaving Kathmandu bound for home. One of our longest serving and most experienced guides, Rinzin, greeted members at the Radisson Hotel yesterday to conduct a full debrief.

Meanwhile, over the weekend another food drop was coordinated to the Ramechap District and the village of Rampur to deliver 2000kgs of rice, and 65 litres of salt and the same of cooking oil. There have been so many people behind the scenes making all of this happen – just with the weekend drop alone we had three of our leaders, (in the attached picture from left to right) Romi Tamang, Bhim Bishowkarma, Juddha Rai, as well as gentleman from the local government, Suman Parajuli, one of our star cooks Harayan Dahal and sirdar, Padam Chhantyal. Great work boys and thank you!

We also want to let you know about an inspiring young lady who is getting behind the World Expeditions Earthquake Appeal. Her name is Ellie Locke and she has a novel approach. Her campaign is to raise $10,000 for the appeal with the pledge to shave off her much loved dreadlocks. She’s only 21 and we know this is a big deal for Ellie.

She is already more than half way there so if you want to donate, click the below link and know that every dollar will go to the WEF Earthquake appeal.

http://makingadifference.gofundraise.com.au/p…/Elliemaylocke

A bit of an update on the status of some of Kathmandu’s great heritage sites which many will have visited, admired and photographed. They are symbolic of Nepal’s history as well as the deep respect shared by the various religions that make up Nepal’s tapestry. We’ve been informed that Nepali craftsmen and artists, engaged in various forms of traditional artworks including wood carvings, stone sculpture & wall paintings are planning a recovery process of the destroyed monuments including documentation on destroyed monuments and protection of recovered valuable pieces from the earthquake hit sites. At least four out of seven Unesco World Heritage sites in the Kathmandu Valley – including three ancient city squares were severely damaged. Swayambhunath, Dharahara tower, Patan Durbar Square and Bhaktapur Durbar Square were damaged. We are heartened to see this work is going ahead.

Nepal Earthquake Update- Friday 08 May

All reports indicate that Kathmandu is about 80% back to normal operations – although we know that there are still many people living in tents on the outskirts who have had their homes damaged or destroyed. Email has been restored and 90% of shops and businesses are open. We currently have no groups in the city.

The relief efforts in the mountain villages north of Kathmandu are still underway where shortages of food, water and alternative accommodation endure. Almost two weeks on from the earthquake there are reports of people living in caves. With our entire inventory of tents and tarpaulins in use since the earthquake, we have been desperately trying to secure others without much success but are having stocks made. There are some coming through from India and other nations and local manufactures are working around the clock to produce this much needed product.
In these times of need, we are continually surprised by the generosity of others and today received fantastic news from our friends at NSW State Emergency Services who are donating 25 large tarpaulins, ropes, 400 blankets, 400 winter weight jackets and 400 pairs of working gloves. Our mission now is to have them flown to Kathmandu and distributed as a matter of urgency.

We continue to receive many enquiries about our porters, sherpas, cooks and kitchen staff. It is testimony to the care that they provide during our treks which resonates so strongly with travellers in years to come. We are doing whatever we can to help them as many have had their homes impacted as they live in some ofthe affected areas. They, like all those people in the hardest hit villages remain our highest priority.

We would like to acknowledge the incredible job that Gavin Turner (our Himalayan Ops Manager) has carried out in Nepal, in greeting and debriefing with our groups coming back into Kathmandu, assisting with the coordination of the food drops and collating intel on conditions in Nepal. It’s been a huge effort from not only Gavin, but also our fantastic Kathmandu based staff - Mr Din, Mrs Uma, Zahid, Rakesh and all the crew - who have all worked tirelessly since the earthquake and who have been a tower of strength. We owe our gratitude to them also for their efforts in coordinating the relief efforts for the World Expeditions Foundation which has not been without its challenges. It has been an outstanding team effort – thank you!

Finally, thank you to our entire community.

Kanchenjunga Base Camp 19 April
We’ve had news from Hakka today that the group are en route to Taplejung. You may read that there is an air strip at this village however please be aware that it has been under renovation well before the earthquake and is not functional. For this reason, on Saturday the group will continue to walk down the valley to Bhadrapur where they will overnight, the following morning taking the flight back to Kathmandu.

 

Nepal Earthquake Update – Thursday 07 May

We’re excited that our final group will be back in Kathmandu this weekend as they complete their trek in the Kanchenjunga region. It’s been 12 days since the harrowing earthquake struck and we feel both relieved and blessed to have our groups and staff safe and well. The feedback from all of our community and beyond has been incredible and we’d like to thank you all for your positive comments, thoughts and prayers for the safety of the wonderful people of Nepal. After tomorrow our updates will cease being daily but we will continue to have regular information on Nepal’s progress. And for all of those who have expressed an interest in getting involved in community work in Nepal post monsoon, after our field research next week we hope to be able to provide details of these project trips,

Meanwhile donations continue to come in for the World Expeditions Foundation Earthquake Appeal and we wish to again express our deep appreciation for the support which has generated over $165,000 already and which is flowing on to where it is immediately needed.

Our staff went to the Bhattedanda District yesterday to assist up to 2340 households with food drops. We were humbled by a Facebook post today from one of the affected villages where a young man wrote the following: TshEring Lopchan ‪#‎World_Expeditions‬ did great job in my village where government failed to do so. Thank You So much ‪#‎WE‬ !
We were so touched to receive this message and thanks again to all of our donors who made this possible.

IN FIELD TODAY:

Kanchenjunga Base Camp 19 April
A bit of a change in the schedule with this group who are walking into Mitlung today. The last few days have meant that the group will not return to Kathmandu ahead of schedule on the 08th as was intended, but will stick to the original plan and fly from Bhadrapur to Kathmandu on 10 May. When we spoke with the guide Hakka today the group were enjoying lunch in a nice grassy area.

IN KATHMANDU:

Everest Circuit 15 April
The final group members left from Nepal today.

 

Nepal Earthquake Update – Wednesday 06 May

Yesterday we delivered our food drops to the villages of Ramche, Betang, Jivanpur, Suspa Kshamawati & Dubachour which was gratefully accepted by the communities who’ve been hard hit by the earthquake. This was enabled by the World Expeditions Foundation and the generosity of donors to the Earthquake Appeal. New information about the village of Dalits near Nowako shows that they too are badly in need of the same staples. Responding to that, we today purchased another shipment of food including rice, dhal, cooking oil, salt & sugar that have been deployed to the village and surrounding settlements. Things are very fluid and the government and NGO’s are stretched, so it seems that right now, where we know of hard hit villages who are suffering food shortages they will have to be our immediate concern. We’re also sourcing tarpaulins as a priority.

Just in is news about the lower Mustang area. A friend who has been in the region the last few days has reported that “Kagbeni, Muktinath-Ranipawa, Jharkot, Jhong, Eklabatti, Lubra, Jomsom, Thinigaon, Dhumba, Syang, Marpha, and Tserok, with the exception of Old Jomsom, the villages and roads of Lower Mustang have not been devastatingly affected by the earthquake. There have been no casualties. Old Jomsom has several homes that have been damaged. There is very, very little earthquake damage to the villages and road between Jomsom and Pokhara”.

As we said yesterday, we’ll also be conducting our own review then too and all other trails as well.

Otherwise in the capital, around 75% of the city has reopened for business and last night was the first evening where no aftershocks were felt. The airport is functioning normally and the weather over the last two days has been clear and temperatures are pleasant around 25-28 degrees.

IN FIELD TODAY:

Kanchenjunga Base Camp 19 April

This is now our only group still out trekking and they are doing just fine. Hakka has reported that they are on their way down to Cherwa today where they will overnight. They are still on schedule to return to Kathmandu on May 8.

IN KATHMANDU:

Everest Circuit 15 April

Several of the group members departed Kathmandu today bound for home where they’ll reunited with family and friends. Gavin, our rep, met with them all last night at the Radisson Hotel to debrief as we have been doing with all of our groups coming back into Kathmandu.

OzHarvest Everest Trek 18 April

Final members of the group departed today.

Nepal Earthquake Update – Tuesday 05 May

Over the last week as our groups have been arriving back into Kathmandu, we’ve taken the opportunity to have some very in-depth discussions with our guides and crew, as well as some of our travellers, about the conditions of trails, bridges and villages in areas where they’ve just returned from.  Already, we can say that our treks in the Everest and Annapurna regions will be operating from September this year onward. There has been some damage to homes and some of the lodges in various villages in the Everest region but bridges are all intact and trails have experienced little change from pre earthquake conditions. The Annapurna trails (exception Annapurna Circuit which we have not researched as yet) were fortunate to escape the wrath of the quake with little damage at all.

Part of our risk assessment and safety procedure will now be to ensure that we have assessed each of our treks fully.  Next week, some of our Nepali guides and crew will be going back into the mountains to start the process of a thorough review of each and every trail, pass, bridge and village encountered on our treks in the Everest and Annapurna regions as a start. In coming weeks we will do the same in all other regions where we operate. This work will also be invaluable in providing tourism departments and others with real information about safety but also of where rebuild work is most needed. We will be keeping travellers up to date with our findings but are heartened that two of the main trekking regions will be open for business again after the monsoon. The timing of the monsoon is fortuitous as it allows us to complete our due diligence, for the local communities to restore any damaged infrastructure and for trekkers to feel confident that they can be part of the solution by returning to Nepal in four months time.

IN FIELD TODAY:

Everest Circuit 15 April

The group flew to Kathmandu today and have transferred to the Radisson Hotel.

Kanchenjunga Base Camp 19 April

The group spent last night in Amjilesa and today proceeded further down the valley toward Suketar. They are still on schedule to return to Kathmandu on May 8.

IN KATHMANDU:

OzHarvest Everest Trek 18 April

Several members of the group departed Kathmandu with the remainder leaving tomorrow.

Nepal Earthquake Update – Monday 04 May

Following the shocking reports coming from the badly affected Langtang and Helambu regions, we have today purchased thousands of kilos of rice, sugar, salt, lentils, cooking oil & sugar. These have been packaged into parcels for transportation tomorrow and our representative, Gavin Turner together with some of our other local staff, will be travelling up to Rasuwa tomorrow to coordinate food drops to the villages of Ramche, Betang, Jivanpur, Suspa Kshamawati & Dubachour totaling 3677 households. We continue to try and source tarpaulins and cooking utensils and stoves which are in short supply.

Meanwhile, just in is news that the Shree Lama Goan School at Nuwakot has avoided major catastrophe. The school buildings have minor damage although three homes in the village were destroyed but thankfully without any human casualties.

IN FIELD TODAY:


Everest Circuit 15 April
The group, together with their guide Subol and crew, are walking into Lukla today. They will fly to Kathmandu tomorrow weather permitting and transfer to the Radisson Hotel.

Kanchenjunga Base Camp 19 April 
The group spent last night in Gepla (2730m) and are today walking to Amjilesa. The plan is then to walk down to Suketar and then travel by road to Bhadrapur where, the latest information is, they will fly to KTM on May 8.

IN KATHMANDU:

OzHarvest Everest Trek 18 April
Group returned to KTM this morning on schedule from Lukla – please note that they are staying at the Gangjong Hotel (not the Radisson) as per their original bookings.
All members are scheduled to depart Kathmandu over the coming two days to return home to loved ones.

Nepal Earthquake Update – Sunday 03 May

The most recent information from our Kathmandu base today is positive and we are delighted, as no doubt are the family and friends of our travellers, that they will all be back in Kathmandu in the coming day:

IN THE FIELD:

Everest Circuit 15 April

The group will walk to Lukla tomorrow (Monday May 4) and despite best efforts can only fly back to KTM on May 5. The group is fine and are on schedule to reach KTM on Tuesday subject to favourable weather conditions.

 OzHarvest Everest Trek 18 April

Group is walking from Ghat to Lukla  today where they will overnight and are scheduled to fly to Kathmandu tomorrow Monday May 4. On schedule and all are ok.

Kanchenjunga Base Camp 19 April 

Today the group is walking from Ghunsa (3430m) to Gepla (2730m). The group is returning to Suketar on the same trail as the approach rather than crossing the Mirgin La. It is clear that 7 porters left the group yesterday (not 12) early to search for family in their villages. We still have 16 staff with the group. The group are fine and on schedule to reach KTM on May 9.

IN OR DEPARTING KATHMANDU:

 Annapurna Trek 14 April

The final traveller departed for home this afternoon.

 Manaslu Circuit 13 April

The final traveller departed for home this afternoon.

 

Nepal Earthquake Update – Saturday 02 May

We’ve had the following information through regarding some of the schools and medical clinics where past groups have worked on community projects. This is by no means an exhaustive list and we will provide details of others are they become available.

Sanjiwani Public Health Mission  Everything is ok.

Langtang School - we are gravely concerned for this entire community following reports of a horrific avalanche that hit the town and surrounding villages.

Shree Bukha Deurali School Contact has been made with the head master of the school. Everything is ok.

Junbesi School  - Contact has been made with the headmaster. The school has reported extensive damage.

Tolka School  - We spoke with teaching staff. Everything is ok.

 Saramthali School – we have not been able to reach the school.

Kushudebu Public Health Mission  - the facility is strong other than a crack in the staff quarters.

Serlo, Takshindu, Chiwang &Thubten Chholing Monasteries Waste Management projects- We’ve been unable to contact anyone from the respective monasteries. Mr Ang Tshering will be sending personnel  to assess them in the coming days.

We’re very pleased to have many of our groups back in Kathmandu or en route, if not, home already  See below the update:

 IN THE FIELD:

Everest Circuit 15 April

The group is at Ghat and according to their original schedule were due to fly to Kathmandu on May 5. We are endeavouring to bring their Lukla flights forward to the 4th of May (Monday) as the backlog in Lukla has been so great that securing earlier flights has not been possible.

OzHarvest Everst Trek 18 April

The group are also in Ghat and will trek into Lukla tomorrow in anticipation for their flight to Kathmandu on May 4. Everyone is doing well.

Kanchenjunga Base Camp 19 April

Group are in Ghunsa. Around 12 of the porters have left the group today to attend to their families, some of which come from the badly affected Langtang region. There are now some contingency plans in place with this development and we wish to report that everyone is well and safe.

DEPARTED OR IMMINENTLY DEPARTING KATHMANDU:

Annapurna Trek 14 April

The final passenger for this group departs Kathmandu for home today.

Manaslu Circuit 13 April

The majority of the group left Kathmandu for home today.

 Everest Base Camp 20 April

The majority of group members left Kathmandu today on international homebound flights.

Private Hawkings Everest Group

All group members departed today for home.

Everest Base Camp 13 April

Final two group members were departing Kathmandu today.

Ama Dablam Base Camp 17 April

Group departed on flights yesterday from Kathmandu.

 

Nepal Earthquake Update – Friday 01 May

Many of our travellers are now back in Kathmandu and staying at the Radisson Hotel. Rooms are now being allocated so when you call the hotel reception please ask to speak to the name of your family member or friend and you’ll be directed to their room. There was just one aftershock felt in Kathmandu at 3am this morning which was reported to have lasted a second.

For many of our travellers the last week will have been emotional and tense. We are appealing to the family members and friends of them to monitor their progress on return home. Our medical consultant has advised that if they are presenting with any sort of anxiety, that they are encouraged to speak to a professional who specialises in post traumatic stress. It may seem like a strange request but everyone will have a different reaction and we just wanted to make a point of highlighting this and to consciously watch out for the signs.

While most of the emergency service efforts in the last 6 days have been in Kathmandu and the outlying suburbs, there is now a renewed focus on the mountain villages. Army have been deployed initially to the areas where the epicentre of the major earthquake movements occurred, but we understand that aerial surveillance of all regions continues. We can only imagine that there will be a lot of terrible news ahead.

Meanwhile the chaos in Kathmandu has abated and banks have reopened, ATM’s in most parts are functioning, supermarkets are trading and many pharmacy’s & fuel stations have resumed normal services. The reliability of commercial domestic and international flights has also improved a great deal in the last two days.

 The situation at the Valley's 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites is mixed. The three Durbar Squares; Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur have been quite severely damaged. Boudhanath, Pashupatinath and Swayambhunath have minor damage, yet some surrounding temples and monasteries have been decimated, the main structures are standing. At this point we do not have any news from Changu Narayan, the lovely temple on the ridge beyond Nagarkot.

 There is a high number of our travellers, schools and charities with whom we work wanting information on the community projects that they have helped with including schools, medical facilities and boarding homes around Nepal. We are compiling a list of all of them currently and trying to obtain as much information about whether the students, medical staff and orphans of these facilities are ok and how the infrastructure has fared. We will post details in the coming weeks.

 It goes without saying that media reports covering Nepal’s earthquake disaster are obviously touching an emotional chord with so many people across the globe. We all want to help. What we can say is that we will have some announcements on community projects that you can get involved with once the emergency response work, assessment of damaged villages and where the greatest needs will be, is fully understood. The World Expeditions Foundation’s core focus is on education so it is likely that schools are where our community projects will be concentrated.

For trips that are still in the field we have spoken with guides today who have reported the following progress, otherwise, many others are now back in Kathmandu awaiting onward flights to their home countries.

Private Hawkins Everest Base Camp 10 April
Group are in Kathmandu at the Radisson Hotel and are scheduled to depart on Saturday (02 May).

Everest Base Camp 13 April
Group are at the Radisson Hotel. Some of the group are left yesterday, others today and tomorrow.

Manaslu Circuit 13 April
The group trekked down to Besisahar today which is at the roadhead where their bus met them and they are now en route to Kathmandu. They are expected to arrive in Kathmandu within the next hour. Everyone is fine.

Complete Annapurna 14 April
The group were in Kathmandu last night and many have left on international flights today, others will depart between tomorrow and Sunday. Our rep is in the Radisson Hotel to assist them in any way.  

Everest Circuit 15 AprilThe group spent last night in Namche Bazaar and will spend another night there this evening. They are all fine. The plan is for them to walk down to Ghat tomorrow.

Ama Dablam Base Camp 17 April
The group were overnight at the Radisson Hotel last evening. They departed on international flights home today.

OzHarvest Everest Base Camp 18 April
Group spent last night at Namche Bazaar and today walked down the valley to Ghat. This camp is just one and a half hours walk from Lukla where the airstrip to take their flight back to Kathmandu awaits. We are hopeful that they will get a flight to Kathmandu tomorrow which is earlier than their original schedule. Stay tuned for tomorrows update.

Kanchenjunga Base Camp 19 April
Contact was made with the group leader yesterday and the group have walked down the valley to Ghunsa today where they will overnight. They are all well.

Everest Base Camp 20 April
The group flew from Lukla to Kathmandu today and are currently en route so will be contactable at the Radisson Hotel within the next two hours.

Himalayan Panorama 20 April
Group still in Lhasa

Today, we pass on another heartfelt thanks to all who have been donating to the Nepal Earthquake Appeal – more than $76,000 is now in the World Expeditions Foundation fund. In coming weeks we will be providing details of where the funds will be directed.

 


Nepal Earthquake Update - Thursday 30 April

It is estimated that over a million people living in the Kathmandu valley have left by buses in the last two days to their homes in the mountain villages. We are advised that this will have some impact on the availability of commercial buses in the coming days.

There are also sizeable numbers of foreign workers who have left Kathmandu for their home countries. The streets in the capital are relatively quiet and the most affected areas are being cleared and rescue operations continue. Shops are reopening and many, who are able to, are returning to work.

The road between Pokhara and Kathmandu is stable and vehicles are using the road in full force.

We now have four of our groups back in Kathmandu at the Radisson Hotel where our Himalayan Operations manager (Gavin Turner) from Sydney has been deployed to assist all of our travellers, together with our fabulous local team. For families and friends of travellers who are now arriving back into Kathmandu after their treks, if without mobile phones they can be contacted at the hotel on +977 1 441 1818. World Expeditions has a desk at the hotel that is staffed by Mr Lakpha – so it is advisable to ask reception to transfer you to the World Expeditions desk. Please state clearly the name of whom you wish to speak to and the trek they were booked on to speed up Lakpha’s ability to locate your family member or friend.  As of last night, travellers were using rooms to shower only and are still sleeping in the foyer area. Some infrequent aftershocks were felt last night but they are mild and short.

We have been in touch with most of our guides today and wish to report the following update on their progress:

Private Hawkins  Everest Base Camp 10 April

Group are in Kathmandu at the Radisson Hotel and are scheduled to depart on Saturday (02 May).

Everest Base Camp 13 April

Group are at the Radisson Hotel. Some of the group are leaving today, tomorrow and finally Saturday.

Manaslu Circuit 13 April

The group spent last night in Taal, which is a small village in the lower section of the Annapurna Circuit. All group and staff are safe and have commenced walking down to Jagat today - the village where the motorable road commences -and are due in Kathmandu later tomorrow, Friday 1 May.

Complete Annapurna  14 April

The group were in Pokhara overnight and flew to Kathmandu today and have been transported to the Radisson Hotel where they are now and will be staying this evening.

Everest Circuit 15 April

Group are all well and are walking down the valley to Namche Bazaar today.

Ama Dablam Base Camp 17 April

Group are at the Radisson Hotel. They depart on international flights Friday (01 May).

OzHarvest Everest Base Camp 18 April

The group are all fine and have descended the valley from Deboche to Namche Bazaar via the monastery precinct of Thyangboche. We hear that sadly there has been some damage to the beautiful monastery which is the largest in the region. The group will overnight in Namche Bazaar this evening.

Kanchenjunga Base Camp 19 April

No contact with the trip leader but we ask families and friends of group members not to worry. The area has been reported as having not been affected by the earthquake with its location in the far east of Nepal along the Indian border. The guide has a satellite phone and will only contact us if there is any need.

 Everest Base Camp 20 April

The group arrived yesterday in Ghat where they spent the night. Today they have walked on to Lukla and we are holding confirmed flights for them from Lukla to Kathmandu tomorrow, Friday 01 May. We ask families to understand that the flights are weather dependent so it is unknown if they will definitely fly tomorrow. We will update information in tomorrow’s report on their progress.

 Himalayan Panorama 20 April

Group arrived in Lhasa yesterday and have been enjoying their sightseeing.

 Highlights of Lhasa, WWOT Tibet Everest, East Himalayan Kingdom groups are now removed from these reports as they have arrived home safely or have continued onto unaffected areas.

 A heartfelt thanks to all who have been donating to the Nepal Earthquake Appeal – more than $60,000 is now in the World Expeditions Foundation fund. In coming weeks we will be providing details of where the funds will be directed.

 

 

Nepal Earthquake Update Wednesday 29 April – 4pm

We have received reports that aftershocks in Nepal are abating and are being felt less regularly as is expected after the initial earthquake.

More and more parts of the capital are receiving power and water and telecommunications are becoming more reliable each day. Internet has been restored but is extremely slow but email services are still not fully functional. The Radisson Hotel, where most of our travellers are accommodated, is functional in the old wing. Kathmandu is still in a chaotic state and several important land marks have been badly damaged or destroyed.

The international airport is open but reliability of commercial flight arrival/departures continues to be affected by the aid and rescue efforts going on in country and the high aviation activity on the capital’s one runway. The domestic airport is also open but still not at full level as airlines are without a total pilot, crew and ground service workforce. We have had good news today that flights have been operating in and out of Lukla and we have three of our groups now back safely in Kathmandu. We can also report that travellers with airline tickets for the scheduled flight of the day (both internationally and domestically) are being given greater priority than those who have had cancelled flights from previous days. This is going to be causing some strain for those who had cancelled flights who are now waiting in ques to be rescheduled. We expect this will be particularly the case in Lukla where there is already quite a backlog of people trying to exit the Everest region.

Enquiries about our staff, porters and their families continue to flow in which has also been very much on our minds too. We can report that our full time staff, guides and crew are all accounted for and their families are ok, some with minor injuries. 20 of our staff who live in villages have lost their homes and 3 of our office staff have also lost their properties in Kathmandu. The majority of all our staff have been affected with most reporting widespread damage to their homes. We have distributed every tent, sleeping bag, all cooking equipment, jerry cans, tarps and tinned food that is in our Kathmandu depot to ensure that as many of our staff and their families have some support and protection. Most of our porters are casual staff from villages far and wide across Nepal and we are reaching out in whatever way we can to try and check on their safety. Communications to the majority of these isolated villages is nonexistent so for now we do worry for them.

Surveillance of some of the mountain regions is uncovering tragic news of entire villages being decimated and in some cases, completely buried under avalanche and landslip debris. We are so deeply saddened by these reports and the escalating numbers of people who have lost their lives in this catastrophic earthquake.

World Expeditions Foundation (WEF) has responded to the crisis in setting up the Nepal Earthquake Appeal. Today World Expeditions donated $50,000 to the fund and we would like to sincerely thank all of those who have been donating. As we watch the extent of the devastation unfold, we all want to help in a real and meaningful way. With gratitude we will collect donations during these initial weeks. Once we have a full grasp of the regions impacted the WEF board in conjunction with our people on the ground and organisations in Nepal, will be making decisions on where the funds will be most effective in the reconstruction of lives and communities.

Please donate at: http://www.gofundraise.com.au/beneficiary/nepalearthquakeappeal

We’re also receiving enquiries from many people who are keen to help in Nepal’s rebuild, so would like to announce that in time for the next trekking season, our not for profit division, Community Project Travel, will also work hard with our local people to select a number of remote communities in need of our assistance to rebuild their schools and community infrastructure. This is where you can donate more than dollars, and volunteer your time and effort to participate in one of our Nepal Service Trips.

Our guides in the field have reported the following status for each of our current trekking groups today:

Private Hawkins Everest Base Camp 10 April
Group flew from Lukla to Kathmandu today. Our Kathmandu staff are now working closely with airlines to procure flights for the next available homebound flight.

Everest Base Camp 13 April
The group flew from Lukla to Kathmandu today. They were collected from Kathmandu airport and transported to the Radisson Hotel. This means that this departure has remained per the original schedule & passengers will be taking homebound flights in the next two days as planned.

Manaslu circuit 13 April 
The group are on schedule and walking down valley Ghoa to Chamche (actually a nearby village called Taal) and reported to be doing well.

Complete Annapurna 14 April 
Group arrived back into Pokhara today and will be staying at our permanent campsite for the evening with a scheduled flight to Kathmandu tomorrow. All ok.

Everest Circuit 15 April 
The group decided to remain in Portse Tenga. They are all fine and plan to descend toward Lukla in the coming days

Ama Dablam Base Camp 17 April 
The group flew from Lukla to Kathmandu today. They were collected from Kathmandu airport and transported to the Radisson Hotel. This means that this departure has remained per the original schedule & passengers will be taking homebound flights in the next two days as planned.

Ozharvest Everest Trek 19 April
The group have walked from Deboche to Namche Bazaar today where they will overnight. It is a further two days walk to Lukla where they will take their flight back to Kathmandu all going well. All are fine.

Kanchenjunga Base Camp 19 April 
We’ve not been able to make contact with the leader today but do not expect anything untoward as reports are that being so far west the region was spared the affects of other areas and the trek was proceeding as planned.

Everest Base Camp Trek 20 April 
Three of the group members walked to Ghat yesterday with their experienced sirdar and have remained there today. The remaining group are rejoining them today as they too walk into Ghat camp which is only a further one and a half hour walk to Lukla. The group were scheduled to fly Lukla to Kathmandu on 06 May however our staff in Kathmandu will be doing all possible to procure an earlier flight from Lukla to Kathmandu where assistance will be provided to rebook international flights. We cannot do the latter until the group have arrived back into Kathmandu when in fact we know they have flown out of the region.

Himalayan Panorama 20 April 
Group flew to Lhasa yesterday but encountered poor weather so were rerouted to Chendgu in China where they spent the night. The group will fly to Lhasa today and resume itinerary.

Highlights of Lhasa 23 April
The group made the connecting flights between Lhasa and Kathmandu yesterday and are now home safely. This group will no longer appear on any future updates accordingly.

WWOT Tibet Everest group 23 April
As per yesterday’s update, this trip became inoperable and flights have been rearranged and the group will leave Tibet today bound for Beijing where they will overnight with connecting homebound flights the following day.

East Himalayan Kingdom 27 April 
Clients arrived yesterday in Bhadrapur and connected on to Darjeeling so are following the original schedule from here on. They are all fine.

Travellers who were due to depart for treks in Nepal and Tibet in the next 10 days will have been contacted in the last two days.


Nepal Earthquake Update Tuesday 28 April – 5pm

Following the catastrophic earthquake that struck Nepal on 25 April there is a major emergency response and recovery effort underway. Meanwhile, the government is coordinating the restoration of the major utilities such as water, electricity & telecommunications. Medical services, aviation & surveillance of rural regions across the country are also working around the clock to ascertain damage and provide support where it is most needed.

The Nepalese are a resilient people and we have every confidence they will rally as a nation - supported by friend nations - to restore the country to some form of normality. Nepal enjoys strong international relationships as well as great affection from individuals from across the globe. With this, there is a groundswell of logistical, financial & service support flowing in and this should continue through the entire recovery process.  Nepal will rebuild and be back on its feet but naturally this will take time.

Three days on from the main earthquake, we see that power and water supply to parts of Kathmandu have been restored, that some domestic commercial flights are operating and some shops reopening. Domestic flights are operating but not on normal schedules. The combined international/domestic airport is reporting unprecedented activity of helicopters and planes that have been deployed into regions of Nepal to assist those in most need and this is having some impact on the reliability of incoming commercial international & domestic flights.  Helicopters remain under the control of the government.

Lukla airport had only one flight operate yesterday and so far today, no flights have come in or out. This will mean that there will be quite a backlog of travellers in Lukla awaiting flights back to Kathmandu. Any groups in the coming days that do fly, will be met in Kathmandu by our local staff and transported to the hotel where we have local staff to support them with onward arrangements and information.

The earthquake struck Nepal at a time when the major trekking season is nearing an end in the lead up to the monsoon.  It is expected that the rebuild over the coming 5 months will restore infrastructure so that travellers can once again enjoy Nepal once the new season gets underway in mid September.  Nepal’s economy is intrinsically reliant on tourism and we appeal to travellers to continue to support the country by travelling to this wonderful Himalayan destination when the new season resumes.

Subject to a review of all trails and infrastructure closer to the season starting, we are confident that the full suite of World Expeditions treks will be fully functional. For travellers who have made bookings for future trips to Nepal (post September) we encourage you to stay in contact with us as regular updates of Nepal’s recovery will be provided. All other travellers departing in the near future we have or will be in contact with you to advise on the status of your trip.

While the emergency response and recovery effort is underway, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in the short term has revised their travel advice for Nepal. This advice does not advise travellers not to travel to Nepal, but clearly, it is prudent right now to reconsider your need to travel. We expect that in the weeks and months ahead, once the restoration of the capital and other areas of Nepal are addressed, that the advice will again be downgraded.

World Expeditions Foundation has set up the Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund and is now taking tax deductible (to Australian citizens only) donations. Please support this important cause: 

http://www.gofundraise.com.au/beneficiary/nepalearthquakeappeal

 Our guides in the field have reported the following status for each of our current trekking groups:

Private Hawkins Everest Base Camp 10 April – Group are in Lukla.  Yesterday the flight was cancelled so they are waiting in Lukla for next available flight. Today they also have not flown. Our staff are working closely with airlines to procure flights for tomorrow but see above comments re backlog.

 Everest Base Camp  13 April – Group were intending to walk down the valley from Namche Bazaar to Ghat today. We have intel that the bridges are intact and that the trail conditions, other than a small landslip area between Monjo and Ghat, are ok to walk. We have had a full group walk this trail in the last day without any problem. All group members are ok.

 Manaslu circuit 13 April 
The group are on schedule and walking down valley from Bimtang to Ghoa. All are fine.

Complete Annapurna 14 April
Group are in Jhilbarang today and are reported to be doing well.

 Everest Circuit 15 April
The group are taking a rest day  in Phortse Tenga.  All OK. The group will not continue with the scheduled route up to Everest Base Camp but descend toward Lukla in the coming days.

 Ama Dablam Base Camp 17 April
The group have walked from Ghat into Lukla today. All ok. It is likely that their scheduled flight to Kathmandu on Wednesday may be delayed. We will provide further updates tomorrow.

Ozharvest Everest Trek  19 April
The group have walked from Dingboche down to Deboche today where they will overnight. All are doing well. 

 Kanchenjunga Base Camp  19 April
The group are continuing with the scheduled trek. All ok

 Everest Base Camp Trek 20 April
Three of the group members have descended from Namche Bazaar to Ghat today with their experienced sirdar. The remaining group have opted to remain in Namche Bazaar.

WWOT Tibet Everest group 23 April
The trekking areas throughout Tibet were closed yesterday. We also learned that there is some road damage on sections of the Friendship Highway that are not passable. For these reasons, group members’ flights have been rearranged to depart to China and onward destinations as trip is no longer operable.

 Himalayan Panorama 20 April 
Group were flying today to Lhasa to continue with their planned itinerary. 

East Himalayan Kingdom 27 April
Clients drove from Chitwan to Bhadrapur this morning at 4.15 a.m to enable them to continue with the scheduled trip to Darjeeling on onward arrangements in following days to Bhutan.

We will be posting updates daily until all of our current groups have completed their treks and safely left Nepal.


Nepal Earthquake Update: Monday 27 April @ 3.30pm Sydney time


It is now 11.30am in Nepal. We have received feedback once again from all group leaders this morning and wish to reassure all families and friends of our travellers in Nepal that they are fine. Please note that we have forwarded details of all the Australian and UK nationals travelling in Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan with us now to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) respectively to assist with their processes of identifying those on their missing list and removing any of our travellers who may have been listed on the same. The domestic airport has reportedly reopened today but we are unsure if all scheduled services will be operational. International flights continue to come in and out of Kathmandu. Power in Kathmandu is still not operational and most businesses, shops and offices remain closed. We reported to some that the Everest Base Camp was not affected but wish to correct that by saying that the trekkers base camp did sustain an avalanche. No World Expeditions travellers were in the area at the time and base camp will be avoided for any currently out trekking in the Everest region. World Expeditions is sending our Himalayan operations manager to Nepal today who will be there from tomorrow to assist with coordinating arrangements for travellers coming in or out of Kathmandu.

Specific trip updates:

Beijing to Kathmandu 07 April
Group is now in Kathmandu and are safe and well. As of today, the Chinese government has stopped issuing visas for Tibet so this will affect the onward arrangements for this group. Our staff in Kathmandu are providing assistance to group members to reorganise their onward flights.

Private Hawkins Everest Base Camp 10 April
Were due to fly between Lukla and Kathmandu yesterday but due to the non operation of the domestic airport remained overnight in Lukla. We are trying to have them fly to Kathmandu today but there is some backlog of customers awaiting flights from Lukla so we will have more information soon.

Everest Base Camp 13 April
Group spent last night at Deboche and are walking down the valley to Namche Bazaar today where there is fairly reliable mobile coverage.

Manaslu Circuit 13 April
The group crossed the Larkya La and are safely proceeding with the scheduled trek and will be staying at Bimtang this evening. All staff and members are fine.

Annapurna Machapuchare 14 April
All passengers have now left Nepal following their trek.

Complete Annapurna Dhaulagiri 14 April
The group spent last night in Swarga and will be proceeding with the scheduled trek as planned, overnighting in Bhibrang this evening. They are all fine.

Everest Circuit 15 April
Group is at Machermo and are all fine. They are descending toward Portse Tenga avoiding the Cho La Pass.

Ama Dablam Base Camp 17 April
Group is in Namche Bazaar 3400m where there is fairly reliable mobile coverage and are all fine.

Oz Harvest Everest Trek 19 April
Spent the night in Dingboche and are trekking down today to Namche Bazaar where there is fairly good mobile coverage. All are fine.

Kanchenjunga Base Camp 19 April
Group are at Ghunsa and will be continuing with the planned trek. They are on schedule and have not needed to deviate since starting the trek due to little tremor activity.

Everest Base Camp 20 April
Group are in Namche Bazaar where there is fairly reliable mobile coverage. They are staying in a lodge on a flat plateau at the top of the town. They have remained in Namche for the last few nights and have felt ongoing tremors but are all fine.

High Road to Lhasa 26 April
All passengers have left for onward flights or home countries.

Highlights of Lhasa 23 April
Passengers are flying from Lhasa back to Kathmandu tomorrow with connecting outbound international flights the same day. They will therefore remain in the passenger terminal between flights and not travel into Kathmandu city.

East Himalaya Kingdoms 27 April
The group are scheduled to arrive in Kathmandu today. We have news that

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