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Juniper Fund Founders Melissa Arnot and David Morton Check In after Nepal Earthquake
Posted on April 30, 2015

Tengboche monastery with Ama Dablam looming.

When the earthquake rocked the country of Nepal and the avalanche on Mt. Everest thundered down upon base camp on March 25th, Eddie Bauer guides Melissa Arnot and David Morton were both on different climbs in the Himalayas. Neither was at Everest base camp and both reported in safe via sat phone within a few days. Yesterday, Arnot and Morton—who co-founded the Juniper Fund to help Sherpa families faced with tragedy—reported in with more detailed accounts of their current status and location in the aftermath. For those seeking an update, this is what they had to say. —LYA Editor

Update from Melissa on April 28th

 

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I can’t imagine being with another team in this incredibly difficult time. We left Everest basecamp on April 23rd to climb Lobuche Peak and sleep on the summit for acclimatization. I took this picture as we descended on the 25th, before the earthquake. We remained safe down valley (but very concerned) during the entire event as word came in of the devastation above and below us. My heart is broken for all the loss and all the impact on rescuers in the last few days. We are trying to see now where our team can best be used and trying to adjust our reality to this new one.

I’m grateful to have the chance to help others in these stressful days but I’m going to need more help. The Juniper Fund (www.thejuniperfund.org) is in need of additional support to be able to help families from this tragedy, as well as try to have an immediate impact on rebuilding critical infrastructure in a remote village where many of our friends live and work. Please donate if you can. I will continue to keep everyone updated with our progress. ‪#‎thejuniperfund

Thank you all for your support, not only for me but also for this community and this country that I hold so close to my heart.

Update from David Morton on April 29th

 

Photo: David Morton

Hi all. I’m back in Namche Bazaar. We are sending a letter to all of our supporters and donors and we would like to share it publicly here. The difficult challenges of recent events are quite clear in Nepal as a whole. The focus of our organization, Expedition mountain workers, was hit particularly hard again. Please take a moment to read our statement.

Letter from The Juniper Fund

As almost all of you are aware, a devastating 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal just before noon on Saturday April 25th. This tragedy has claimed thousands of lives and has caused extensive damage throughout the country. Our organization thanks all of those who have donated in this recent period.

David Morton, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the The Juniper Fund has been in Thame valley during the earthquake as well as the days afterward (a village located in the Khumbu Valley).

Co-Founder Melissa Arnot was also in Khumbu during the earthquake and witnessed the tragedy. She has returned to Everest Base Camp temporarily.

We are in need more than ever of support for expedition workers. The most recent information indicates that there were 13 Nepalese nationals who perished in base camp working for expeditions on Mt. Everest this season. We continue to advocate for these workers. They subject themselves to dangers as evidenced by this season and last seasons’ tragedies. The number of people who died at Everest base camp versus the rest of Khumbu is a stark reminder of this elevated risk.

David Morton in front of the Thyangboche Monastery on the 2012 West Ridge expedition. Photo: Charley Mace

As David said while enduring the difficulties of the earthquake tragedy in Thame “I’ve seen in the Thame valley the remarkable gratefulness of families that are intact and alive despite the loss of property and possessions. That can’t be said for those who lost their lives working for expeditions this season”.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families that have been impacted by this disaster. Please support these workers who perished this season working on Mt. Everest by donating to The Juniper Fund. We need your support desperately. Two seasons of incalculable and abnormal tragedy is hard to endure as a small organization. But, we continue to see the great benefit to families that our support affords. We ask for your support for these workers.

The Juniper Fund will stay focused and committed to providing support for expedition workers and their families affected by the earthquake. Please visit www.thejuniperfund.org to contribute today.

If you wish to contribute to general reconstruction and development efforts in the the Solukhumbu district which are desperately needed we encourage you to visit the DZI Foundation, Himalayan Trust or American Himalayan Foundation. These organizations have established strong relationships and a long history of effective development projects in the area.

Thank you for your consistent and generous support.

April 30th Update:

 

This morning, April 30th, David Morton posted an additional update from Thame with a link to a gallery of his images of the devastated region. “As happens with these events often those outside of the area with connectivity know much more than us in the middle. That’s the case with me,” Morton reports. “I’ve really just gotten back in communication and know there are others who are working tirelessly on mobilizing and organizing help. I know Jake Norton has been doing his best to help disseminate info. Zem’diki Sherpa has also contributed great thoughts on aid in Nepal and thinks deeply about these issues. More to come soon on Thame with some thoughtful people putting together a way to help in rebuilding.

Check out his gallery here at National Geographic online.

 

Author: - Thursday, April 30th, 2015
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