After the disastrous earthquake of April 2015, Mountain People immediately established its own Earthquake Operations Centre in Hotel Moonlight, Kathmandu.
From here MP received donations and distributed 3000 30-kilo bags of rice, 3000 tarpaulins, 3000 sleeping bags/blankets, plus organized its own medical camps at MP Centre, and financed specific trauma workshops.
Mountain People members financed eight helicopter flights to Tipling village, where Steps distributed relief material to over 500 badly affected families.
‘We were the first in, and were astounded by the sight of such massive devastation. Yet we felt warmth in the appreciative expression of the villagers.’ Francis Lutick, a volunteer retired nurse, who flew in with Beni.
In Kathmandu, Steps distributed over 400 bags of 30 kilo rice, tarpaulins, etc to women and families in need, associated in some way to Tipling and/or Beni Handicrafts.
Steps facilitated the purchase (funds from Beni Handicrafts, family and friends), transport and distribution of zinc sheets to the villagers in Tipling for urgent reconstruction. The transportation was financed by Andreana and Laura from Associazione El Volcan. Financed by Mountain People and Beni Handicrafts, Steps distributed 750 quality quilts before the winter of 2015 set in to isolated villages. A massive movement of much needed bedding. An additional 150 were distributed in the Kathmandu area.
All of the schools in Tipling collapsed in the earthquake. Steps helped manage and finance the re-building of Lapsan Kharpo School (supported by Associazione El Volcan) and Samten Chholing Monsatery Primary School. (financed by Ania Lichota).
While David initiated and was the main driving power behind the Mountain People Earthquake Centre, it was an Earthquake Team Effort, of amazing proportions.
Uttam opened the hotel to the work. Add the duo of Bob and Sian, backed by Steve, Francis and Erling, Anne Mayers… followed by the likes of Jens who started his own organization… It was a magical time, if tragic.
XXL-sport chain in Norway provided 1000 sleeping bags, 1000 mattresses and 105 large tents. Norwegian (Airlines) transported them free to Nepal, the Norwegian Ambassador, Kjell Tormod, took them in via Diplomatic channels, and 5 days after leaving Norway they were being distributed by helicopter by Steve and Erling, Beni and Frank.
David notes, ‘We are tourists, and we have the luxury that we can leave and go home once the dust had settled. What impressed me was the staff of Hotel Moonlight and Beni Handicrafts, as well as Steps members. Many were active from day two, helping others. They had their own problems; yet they prioritized others in greater need.
It was the police, the army, students, old and young, rich and poor who pulled together. While the politicians caused confusion and chaos. Many aid organizations fled the country.’