Monday, April 27, 2015

Sunday Globe Special: Nepal Earthquake Buried European Migrants

In an avalanche of print and articles:

"Earthquake Devastates Nepal, Killing More Than 1,900" by ELLEN BARRY, APRIL 25, 2015

NEW DELHI — A powerful earthquake shook Nepal on Saturday near its capital, Katmandu, killing more than 1,900 people, flattening sections of the city’s historic center, and trapping dozens of sightseers in a 200-foot watchtower that came crashing down into a pile of bricks.

As officials in Nepal faced the devastation on Sunday morning, they said that most of the 1,931 deaths occurred in Katmandu and the surrounding valley, and that more than 4,700 people had been injured. But the quake touched a vast expanse of the subcontinent. It set off avalanches around Mount Everest, where at least 17 climbers died. At least 34 deaths occurred in northern India. Buildings swayed in Tibet and Bangladesh.

The earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.8, struck shortly before noon, and residents of Katmandu ran into the streets and other open spaces as buildings fell, throwing up clouds of dust. Wide cracks opened on paved streets and in the walls of city buildings. Motorcycles tipped over and slid off the edge of a highway.

By midafternoon, the United States Geological Survey had counted 12 aftershocks, one of which measured 6.6.

Seismologists have expected a major earthquake in western Nepal, where there is pent-up pressure from the grinding between tectonic plates, the northern Eurasian plate and the up-thrusting Indian plate. Still, four of the area’s seven Unesco World Heritage sites were severely damaged in the earthquake: for many, the most breathtaking architectural loss was the nine-story Dharahara Tower, which was built in 1832 on the orders of the queen. The tower had recently reopened to the public, and visitors could ascend a spiral staircase to a viewing platform around 200 feet above the city.

The walls were brick, around one and a half feet thick, and when the earthquake struck, they came crashing down.

The police said on Saturday that they had pulled about 60 bodies from the rubble of the tower. Kashish Das Shrestha, a photographer and writer, spent much of the day in the old city, but said he still had trouble grasping that the tower was gone.

“I was here yesterday, I was here the day before yesterday, and it was there,” he said. “Today it’s just gone. Last night, from my terrace, I was looking at the tower. And today I was at the tower — and there is no tower.”

Not to make light of this terrible tragedy beyond comprehension, but I think all Americans can relate to that kind of imagery -- in triplicate.


For years, people have worried about an earthquake of this magnitude in western Nepal. Many feared that an immense death toll would result, in part because construction has been largely unregulated in recent years, said Ganesh K. Bhattari, a Nepalese expert on earthquakes, now living in Denmark.

He said the government had made some buildings more robust and reinforced vulnerable ones, but many larger buildings, like hospitals and old-age homes, remained extremely vulnerable. “There is a little bit of improvement,” he said. “But it is really difficult for people to implement the rules and the regulations.”

Saturday’s earthquake struck when schools were not in session, which may have reduced the death toll. But there was not yet a full picture of the damage to villages on the mountain ridges around Katmandu, where families live in houses made of mud and thatch.

Hopefully they will not be forgotten like Vanuatu.

As night fell, aftershocks were still hitting, prompting waves of screaming. Many residents sat on roads for much of the day, afraid to go back indoors, and many insisted that they would spend the night outside despite the cold. Thousands camped out at the city’s parade ground. The city’s shops were running short of bottled water, dry food and telephone charge cards.

Toward evening, hospitals were trying to accommodate a huge influx of patients, some with amputated limbs, and were running short of supplies like bandages and trauma kits, said Jamie McGoldrick, resident coordinator with the United Nations Development Program in Nepal. Water supplies, a problem under normal circumstances in this fast-growing city, will almost certainly run short, he said.

Search and rescue personnel will face the challenge of reaching villages nearer the quake’s epicenter, about 50 miles northwest of Katmandu, where damage may be catastrophic.

Secretary of State John Kerry said the American ambassador to Nepal, Peter W. Bodde, had issued a disaster declaration that would allow $1 million in humanitarian assistance to be available immediately. A disaster response team and an urban search-and-rescue team from the United States Agency for International Development will also be deployed, he said in a statement.

Why does the CIA need to get in there?

China and India, which jockey for influence in the region, have pledged disaster assistance.

Yeah, they don't provide it out of the goodness of their hearts like AmeriKa. They trying to play an angle!

I'm so0 sick of $hit journali$m.

The region has been the site of the largest earthquakes in the Himalayas, including a 2005 quake in the Kashmir region and a 1905 earthquake in Kangra, India.

Don't see much regarding Kashmir, either.



Earthquake in Nepal kills nearly 1,400 and levels buildings ...

Link broke?

Death toll in Nepal quake rises to more than 3,200; Aftershocks send people into streets; destruction, rains slow relief response" by Binaj Gurubacharya and Katy Daigle Associated Press  April 25, 2015

Web version found a live one.

Over to Mt. Everest:

"17 dead in Mount Everest avalanche triggered by quake" by Gardiner Harris New York Times  April 25, 2015

NEW DELHI — A year after a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest ended the climbing season, another avalanche, this one caused by a powerful earthquake near the Nepalese capital, slammed into part of the mountaineering base camp Saturday, killing at least 17 climbers and 61 others have been injured, Nepalese officials and a senior trekking guide said.

One of those killed at the base camp was Dan Fredinburg, a Google engineer and avid climber who had sought to take the company’s Street View project to the world’s highest mountains. “Sadly, we lost one of our own,” Google said in a statement.

Alex Gavan, a hiker at the base camp, described on Twitter a “huge earthquake then huge avalanche” that sent him “running for life from my tent.” Gavan warned that many of the injured would die if they were not evacuated soon.

Ang Tshering of the Nepal Mountaineering Association told the Associated Press early Sunday 22 of the seriously injured had been taken by helicopter to Pheriche village, which has the nearest medical facility. Bad weather and communications were hampering more helicopter rescues.

Tshering says the avalanche began Saturday on Mount Kumori, a 22,966-foot-high mountain a few miles from Everest, gathering strength as it headed toward the base camp, where climbing expeditions have been preparing to make their summit attempts.

My print copy quoted a different source: 

"Nima Namgyal Sherpa, a guide at the base camp, said the avalanche caused many injuries. Nepalese tourism officials feared hundreds of climbers may have died. “Many camps have been destroyed by the shake and wind from the avalanche,” Mr. Sherpa, the base camp manager for Asian Trekking, wrote in a post on Facebook. “All the doctors here are doing our best to treat and save lives.”

Tempting death has always been part of the treacherous Everest experience, but these past two years have been particularly deadly.

Last year, about 30 men were crossing a notorious area known by some local residents as the Golden Gate because of the shape of its ice formations when a huge chunk of ice cascaded down the mountain’s south side around 6:30 a.m. and engulfed them, killing 16.

In that accident, no foreign climbers were killed, in part because of the early hour. The climbers were Sherpas, members of an ethnic group known for their climbing acumen, and who often use Sherpa as a surname. They are paid by foreign climbers to do the dangerous tasks of fixing ropes, carrying supplies, and setting up camps for their clients.

They went on strike after that.

But Saturday’s quake struck just before noon local time, making almost anyone in the area vulnerable.

Arjun Vajpai, a professional mountaineer, was on Makalu, a mountain in the Himalayas southeast of Everest, near the Nepal-China border, when the earthquake struck.

“We’ve had a lot of disturbance here due to the earthquake,” he said in a video he posted to Facebook from his campsite.

In the video, he points to a mountain visible behind him and says there have been a few avalanches in the area as well as rockfalls. Most climbers on his team were fine, he said, but he had not yet heard from climbers who moved to other camps.

Ang Sherpa, an experienced climbing guide, said in an interview Saturday that about 800 people were staying at the Everest base camp, which is always a somewhat chaotic collection of tents, equipment, and exhausted climbers and their attendants.

"A helicopter rescue operation to the base camp was planned for Sunday morning, he said, when a full tally of the dead and injured should become available."


Also see:

"Italian authorities on Saturday rescued 274 migrants from a vessel in the Mediterranean, while more than 300 rescued a day earlier arrived in a Sicily port. Italian Navy spokeswoman Giorgia Trecca said Saturday’s rescue took place off the Libyan coast. There were no reports of any casualties. Meanwhile, 334 migrants, who were rescued on Friday, were dropped off in the Sicilian port of Augusta (AP)."

Globe literally sunk that brief.


That Same Old Sinking Feeling
Taking Turkey to Task

Continued into Monday, too:

"Coast Guard crews searched for five people missing Sunday after recovering the bodies of two people who drowned when a powerful weekend storm capsized several sailboats competing in a regatta near Mobile Bay."

"The War between the States ended, but peace did not follow. The Indian Wars meant the continued killing and pushing of natives further north and west. It still surprises me that there has been plenty of outrage toward slavery, but general acceptance of eradicating or confining the natives. All of us here today who are not Native American benefited from the purge."

Even have a football team named Redskins (maybe it is time to change that name).

I thought that sentiment appropriate in light of talking Turkey where some may have been offended by the language; however, my point remains. I'm not trying to excuse genocide of any kind; I am merely noting the strange focus regarding the propaganda pre$$ of today.

"Protests, clashes follow nomination of Burundi’s president for third term" Associated Press  April 27, 2015

BUJUMBURA, Burundi — Hundreds of people in Burundi protested in the capital Sunday after the country’s ruling party nominated President Pierre Nkurunziza to run for a third term.

There were clashes between protesters and armed police in Bujumbura, the nation’s capital. Police fired tear gas to break up crowds and also blocked access to some parts of the city.

Watchdog groups and observers had warned of possible unrest if Nkurunziza decided to run again. Thousands of Burundians have already fled the country ahead of presidential elections on June 26.

Burundi’s constitution stipulates that a president can serve for only two terms, but Nkurunziza's party says he is eligible for another term as popularly elected president because for his first term he was elected by lawmakers.

Critics say this is not a proper interpretation of the law and that he should not compete for a third term.

The US government has criticized the ruling party’s decision.

‘‘With this decision, Burundi is losing an historic opportunity to strengthen its democracy by establishing a tradition of peaceful democratic transition,’’ the State Department said.

And if we can't get the puppet we want that way, we'll overthrow your ass with a coup!

More than 10,000 Burundians have fled to neighboring Rwanda citing fears of election violence. Many of those in Rwanda say they left because of growing pressure to support Nkurunziza’s party.

Others alleged violence by the ruling party’s youth wing, known as Imbonerakure, according to the UN refugee agency.


At least security concerns in France have been revived.

Back to Nepal:

"Fear and loss amid the devastation in Katmandu" by Thomas Fuller New York Times  April 27, 2015

KATMANDU, Nepal — Sitting atop a major tectonic fault, Nepal was inured to tremors. Yet the powerful earthquake that struck Saturday, destroying some of the country’s most treasured temples and killing more than 2,500 people, left behind fear and pessimism.

Why is the property first in my pre$$? Buildings can be rebuilt. Lives can not.

On Sunday afternoon, the streets were filled with people carrying bedrolls and pillows to any open space they could find, including a military parade ground that had been transformed into a giant tent city. There was a widespread belief that deadly aftershocks loomed. Very few people seemed willing to sleep indoors.

They may have to call that home like the Haitians.

In the land of Sherpas, residents carried their bedding over their shoulders through the streets of Katmandu and set up camp anywhere away from buildings, walls, or anything that could fall down.

The destruction from Saturday’s earthquake was oddly inconsistent. Engineers and scientists will no doubt offer explanations for why some buildings collapsed into splinters and piles of bricks while others next door appeared indifferent to the violence of the earthquake. The seeming randomness, the odd juxtaposition of upright and flattened, spooked people.

Many residents remain traumatized. In the heart of historic district, the country’s most prized temples are rubble. These buildings “are what made Katmandu special,” Sri Kitav Sangoala, a middle-aged truck driver, said.

By late Sunday, the aftershocks appeared to be weakening, although a magnitude 5.3 quake shook an area about 30 miles east of Katmandu.

As dusk fell, soldiers climbed through the rubble of the historic buildings — and continued to dig for bodies.

Nepal's 9/11 with first-responder heroes.


Found another one!

Death toll and fears rising in Nepal; Supplies dwindle; aftershocks spread; destruction, rains slow relief response" by Rama Lakshmi and Annie Gowen Washington Post  April 27, 2015

"Nepal Terrorized by Aftershocks, Hampering Relief Efforts" by THOMAS FULLER and GARDINER HARRIS, APRIL 26, 2015

KATMANDU, Nepal — A growing sense of despair spread through Katmandu on Sunday as the devastated Nepali capital was convulsed by aftershocks that sent residents screaming into the streets, where they were pelted by heavy rain.

A day after an earthquake killed more than 2,400 people and injured about 5,900, residents grew frantic and the government, entirely overwhelmed by the enormousness of the challenge facing the country, struggled to provide relief, or much hope.

Streets in parts of this city of about 1.2 million were impassable, not so much from quake damage but because tens of thousands of people have taken up residence there. It was a strategy endorsed by the government.

The already difficult situation in much of the capital, where safe shelters are scarce, was made worse Sunday when rains began to pour down on huddled masses.

It is increasingly evident that authorities here were ill-equipped to rescue those trapped and would have trouble maintaining adequate supplies of water, electricity and food.

“In my neighborhood, the police are conspicuous by their absence,” said Sridhar Khatri of the South Asia Center for Policy Studies in Katmandu. “There is not even a show of force to deter vandalism, which some reports say is on the rise.”

On Mount Everest, helicopter rescue operations began Sunday morning to take wounded climbers off the mountain, where at least 18 climbers were killed and 41 others injured, making the earthquake the deadliest event in the mountain’s history. Three Americans were among those killed, according to the State Department.


"Marblehead resident David Breashears, who codirected “Everest,” the first Imax film shot on Mount Everest, was at Camp 1 when the avalanche occurred and is safe, said Ellen Golbranson, chief financial officer at GlacierWorks in Boston. Breashears was there as part of his work for GlacierWorks, a nonprofit organization he established in 2007 to bring attention to the impact of climate change on the Himalayan region, she said." 

This was an earthquake, and if you are going to claim.... sigh.

Aftershocks and small avalanches throughout the day Sunday continued to plague the nearly 800 people staying at the mountain base camp and at higher elevation camps. Susan Parker-Burns, a spokeswoman from the United States Embassy in Nepal, said Sunday in an email that a rescue and relief team from the United States Agency for International Development was sent by military transport to Nepal, and that it would arrive on Monday.

On Sunday, the government began setting up 16 relief stations across Katmandu and the rest of the country while rescue operations continued. The relief stations are expected to ease distribution of water, food and medicine, said Laxmi Prasad Dhakal, a spokesman at the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Electricity has been intermittent at best in Katmandu, and absent entirely in other parts of Nepal, but that is not wholly unusual in a country where nighttime blackouts are routine.

Many hotels, commercial buildings and wealthy homes in the capital have their own generators. But nearly all of the country’s gas and diesel supplies are brought in from India, and with traffic reduced to a crawl along major highways, those supplies could dwindle quickly. Some gas stations in Katmandu have already run dry; others are rationing their remaining supplies.

Thousands of Katmandu’s residents squatted on streets throughout the city, either because their homes had been destroyed or because continued aftershocks, including one of magnitude 6.7, left them too afraid to go back inside. Other residents were camping out in schools, school playgrounds and government offices.

The government announced that schools would remain closed for at least five days, and it pleaded with government workers to help in local rescue efforts in place of their usual jobs.

Stephen Groves, who lives in Katmandu, said he had been inspecting a building for cracks shortly after noon on Sunday when the biggest of many aftershocks hit, leading to terrified screams from those nearby.

“The whole time I was thinking if the building next to me was going to come down on top of me,” Mr. Groves said in an email. “People here are in a panic, and every aftershock contributes to that. They are not going indoors, they are staying in the roads and in open areas. Many are searching for family members.”

Mr. Groves said he had gone to a hospital in the capital on Saturday, where hordes of people were lying on the ground outside the building, many with intravenous drips hooked up to their arms and shocked looks on their faces.

The city was awash with rumors that the worst aftershocks were yet to come and with fears of greater destruction in the countryside, large swaths of which remained unreachable by phone.

Subhash Ghimire, the editor in chief of the Nepalese newspaper Rep├║blica, said he managed to reach his father in his village, home to about 3,000 people, near the epicenter in the Gorkha district. “He said not a single house is left in our village, including our own house,” Mr. Ghimire said.

In a blog post Sunday, Eric Simonson of International Mountain Guides said the news from the Everest base camp “was quite bleak,” and that the company’s encampment “has been turned into a triage center, and our big dining tents are now being used as hospital tents.”

“The tons and tons of falling ice going this vertical distance created a huge aerosol avalanche and accompanying air blast,” he wrote. “It is worth noting that over many expeditions we have never seen an avalanche from this area that was even remotely of this scale.”

I would suggest a HAARP, but....

About 600 Israelis are believed to be in Nepal, a popular destination for young backpackers after their compulsory military service.  

That's where my print ended, and it lets you know exactly why this story has overtaken the migrants in my self-centered jew$paper.

Also Sunday, the Israeli military said that it was preparing to send two Boeing 747s carrying 260 aid workers and more than 90 tons of cargo to Katmandu.  Magen David Adom, Israel’s national emergency medical response organization, had already sent an advance team of 10 paramedics and two doctors to Nepal.

Nepal will most likely require significant help. The country’s existing political discord is likely to hamper rescue and rebuilding efforts. The government has been barely functional for more than a decade, with politicians of just about every stripe fighting over the scraps of the increasingly desperate economy. 

It's everywhere!

A 10-year civil war between Maoist parties and the government ended in 2006, but the resulting Constituent Assembly spent four years trying to write a constitution without success. Paralysis ensued until elections in November 2013 led to the unexpected rout of the previously dominant Maoists.

Nepal’s people had already become exhausted with the political paralysis, but those feelings could turn explosive if relief and rescue efforts fail in the coming weeks, analysts said. The fear of just such an outcome could spur an intense international relief effort, as an odd collection of countries — including China, India and the United States — were already cooperating on pushing Nepal’s politicians toward compromise.


Back up Everest:

"Local couple in Nepal found safe" by Nestor Ramos and Melissa Hanson Globe Staff | Globe Correspondent  April 26, 2015

Watching helplessly from afar, hundreds of Nepali residents of Boston gathered at a vigil in Copley Square Sunday night to honor the thousands killed in their homeland, which brought about 1,000 people to Copley Square, were still frantically trying to learn the fate of loved ones. The vigil, organizers said, was a chance to help heal and an outlet for people powerless to help parents, siblings, and relatives on the the other side of the world.


"In Greater Boston, churches and temples that minister to the region’s close-knit Nepali community planned special prayer services for Saturday night, and scrambled to put together plans to provide financial and other assistance to Nepal. “The community here is totally shocked,” said Ram Dhital, owner of Himalayan Indian Bistro in West Roxbury. “It’s a big disaster.” 

No argument there.


Sunday’s vigil emerged from a Saturday night meeting at Himalayan Indian Bistro in West Roxbury, where members of Boston-area organizations for Nepali immigrants traded stories about relatives lost or missing in the devastation.

“Everyone is still in shock,” said Amit Dixit, executive director of the South Asian Arts Council, one of several organizations working together to coordinate response and relief efforts.

The vigil, Dixit said, is a way to begin the healing process even as the organizations grapple with how they can best help those affected through relief efforts.

Fund-raising efforts by area organizations are underway — a Nepali student association and the University of Massachusetts Boston will meet on campus Monday afternoon. Dixit said the assembled community groups are urging that donations be made through the Red Cross.

Elisha Thapa said difficulty communicating with relatives in Nepal has compounded fear with frustration.

“There was a shortage of electricity as it is,” said Thapa, who last visited Nepal in 2013.

Her parents are here — her father, Ram Thapa, is president of the Greater Boston Nepali Community — but most of her extended family remains in Nepal.

“They have been too scared to go indoors,” said Thapa, 26, of Arlington. “They have been camping outside and running low on their batteries.”

Aftershocks, she said, have been nearly as devastating as the first initial quake.

“The catastrophe hasn’t ended. That’s the scariest part,” Thapa said. “People are going to bed scared. . . . The earth hasn’t stopped trembling.”


RelatedSnow work leaves budgets battered

A different kind of avalanche that flies in the face of, you know....


Study links extreme weather to global warming

Literally farting in your face (as blog editor shakes his head regarding another agenda-pushing pos from the $cienti$ts when we have all seen the cooling, sorry). 

Hey, look, I'm sure carbon credits are a good investment for those wanting to save the world, and by that I mean the good-hearted elite taking such good care of us all as they profit tremendously.

Time to link it to Nepal and take it from the top:

"Climbers describe chaos on Mount Everest after earthquake" by Chris Buckley New York Times  April 28, 2015

KATMANDU, Nepal — Even for Lakpa Rita, a revered Nepalese mountaineer who has reached the summit of Mount Everest 17 times, the roaring wall of boulders, rocks, ice, and debris that pulverized much of the mountain’s base camp during the weekend signified a new twist in the peak’s destructive powers.

“Nothing like this has happened before at Everest base camp,” Rita said by telephone Monday from the camp in eastern Nepal, three days after the earthquake set off the avalanche and geological convulsions there. “This is a huge, huge avalanche,” he said.

At least 18 people died in the area of the camp, which is 18,000 feet above sea level.

The search for victims’ bodies in and around the camp, where mountaineers gather before trying to reach Everest’s summit, is likely to be long and difficult. An unknown number of climbers are still unaccounted for, officials said.

Helicopters evacuated almost all of the 180 climbers stuck at Camp 1 and Camp 2 on Everest after the route back to the base camp was blocked by the avalanche, Ang Tshering Sherpa, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, told the Associated Press.

‘‘They are all in good health,’’ Sherpa said, adding that 700 climbers are still at base camp and the route to Camp 1 is being repaired.

Eleven bodies have been retrieved, including seven Nepalis, said Jhankanath Dhakal, chief district officer of Solukhumbu District, which includes Nepal’s part of Everest.

For many tourists and adventurers, visiting Everest — even at the relatively low base camp — fulfills an intensely personal and expensive quest to test extremes. But for many ethnic Sherpas employed as local guides, who often take immense pride in their high-altitude skills, the most immediate motivation is a good income.

I'm just a might offended by the eliti$t tone there. I've linked last year's disaster as well, and the Sherpa's shut it down last season because of low pay and no benefits. A year later, and it's buried under an avalanche (pardon the pun) of feel-good propaganda here. 

Last year, an avalanche killed at least 13 Sherpa guides on Mount Everest and left three others missing, probably dead. How many Sherpas were among the fatalities at base camp this time was unclear.

Yet even the two successive seasons of tragedy appeared unlikely to deter Sherpa men from taking jobs as paid guides and load-bearers on mountain expeditions. In Nepal, where the average income is about $700 a year, Sherpas can make $3,000 to $5,000 in a season on Mount Everest, as well as bonuses if they reach the summit. 

I suppose it is not banker pay, but hooray for the $herpas! You would think the rich adventurers and such could $hell out a bit more as they contemplate altruism at the highest peak in the world, etc, etc. 

Even hardened climbers admitted to being terrified by the wave of destruction from the latest quake.

“I heard a really big thump and then I knew, OK, the avalanche is coming,” Mariusz Malkowski, a 42-year-old Polish-American engineer and an experienced climber, said Monday after finding his way out of base camp and eventually to New Delhi. But he said he was not prepared for what he saw: a wave of snow and ice, accompanied by a tremendous gust of air. “Imagine a tsunami,” he said.

“Mountains and glaciers shook all around us,” Sean Wisedale, a South African climber and expedition leader, recounted on his blog. “A massive ice slab sheared and thundered into Base Camp. It lifted rocks and boulders ahead of it, slamming into hundreds of tents in the center of the camp and spilling over onto the Khumbu glacier on the other side.”

Look, I don't want to connect the two in the face of all these deaths, but after years and years of relative safety during the season the lingering winter play a role here?

Members of his team dived into their tents and then emerged to a different world. “Base Camp was the site of post Armageddon,” he wrote.

There seems little chance, however, that successive disasters will seriously dull the luster of Mount Everest among visitors. Some foreign trekkers who had left Everest after the earthquake, or had their plans to visit stymied by the disaster, said in interviews in Katmandu that they hoped to return to the mountain. Others said they had seen enough.

“Emotionally, I felt like this trip was so much bigger than the actual physical journey,” Rob Besecker, who lives in Chicago, said in an interview.

He has muscular dystrophy and heart problems, and he said he had trekked to the Everest base camp, and other famous or forbidding parts of the world, to show people that illness should not overshadow their lives. He had already left the base camp when the earthquake struck.



"Dan Fredinburg, 33, a Google engineer from California, also helped start Save the Ice, an organization dedicated to raising awareness about global warming ‘‘through adventurous campaigns and events around the world,’’ according to its website. Fredinburg began working at Google in 2007. He served as product manager and the head of privacy at Google X, the company’s secretive arm best known for ‘‘moonshot’’ projects such as the self-driving car. Fredinburg had returned to Mount Everest this year after his climbing trip last April was canceled because of an avalanche that killed 16 Nepali staff.....

How ironic, and I suppose the carbon footprint left by adventuring(??), blah, blah, is okay. The more conspiracy-minded of you may find it odd. I'm accepting for now that this is accident and natural.

The earthquake that devastated Nepal and set off the avalanches Saturday has killed more than 4,300 people, including at least four Americans, according to the US State Department. The American victims were Dan Fredinburg, a Google executive; Marisa Eve Girawong, a physician’s assistant from New Jersey; Tom Taplin, a documentary filmmaker from Santa Monica, Calif., and Vinh B. Truong, according to ABC News." 

And just who is Global Rescue?

"Global Rescue, a Boston security company started by Dan Richards, the former private equity investor, in 2004 following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, an 11-man team of former Navy SEALs and 200-member staff that is an unusually fit bunch and that conducts more than 1,000 operations a year. It has responded to coup attempts in Mali and Madagascar, terror attacks in India, and the 2011 tsunami in Japan. A few weeks ago, Global Rescue evacuated two mountain climbers via helicopter in Switzerland. After the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Global Rescue spent three weeks getting people out. The company doesn’t have clients in Syria, but it is working with companies in the bordering countries of Israel, Turkey, and Lebanon in the event the conflict spreads." 

Right in the thick of it, are they?

"Many left out as aid flows to Nepal; Remote villagers struggle; death toll above 4,400" by Thomas Fuller and Ellen Barry New York Times  April 28, 2015

SAURPANI, Nepal — Three days after Nepal’s worst earthquake in 80 years, the official death toll had risen to more than 4,400, and humanitarian aid was starting to flow to the capital.

Katmandu’s airport had been so overloaded by aid and passenger planes that incoming flights sat for hours on the runway. Rescue workers, medical teams, and aid organizations from more than a dozen countries were helping police and army troops in Katmandu and surrounding areas. A plane with 70 US search-and-rescue workers arrived in Nepal on Monday, and a second US cargo plane carrying members of a Los Angeles urban search-and-rescue team was due to arrive Tuesday.

Conditions were still chaotic in Katmandu, where many buildings were reduced to rubble and there were shortages of food, fuel, electricity, and shelter. As bodies were recovered, relatives cremated the dead along the Bagmati River.

But the problems could be far worse in remote mountain locations. Many of the worst-hit villages in the ridges around Katmandu remain a black hole, surrounded by landslides that make them inaccessible even to the country’s armed forces.

Nepali authorities Monday began airdropping packages of tarpaulins, dry food, and medicine into mountain villages, but an attempt to land helicopters was abandoned, said Brigadier General Jagadish Chandra Pokharel, an army spokesman.

The government is only gradually getting a grasp of the destruction in these isolated places. It is nearly impossible to identify which villages are most in need, and how many may be dead or injured, said Jeffrey Shannon, director of programs for Mercy Corps in Nepal.

“Right now, what we’re hearing from everybody, including our own staff, is that we don’t know,” he said....

Then why keep reading this?


Who is rushing there besides Global Rescue:

"Global effort to help Nepal earthquake victims intensifies" by Gregory Katz Associated Press  April 28, 2015

LONDON — Priority at the damaged international airport in the Nepalese capital, Katmandu, was given to aid flights carrying either doctors or search teams, said Captain Chezki, an Israeli air force pilot who landed an early aid flight and then returned to Israel. Under Israeli military guidelines, he was identified only by his first name.


The US Agency for International Development said Monday that it would make an additional $9 million available for the recovery effort.

It's not like I don't want to help the poor Nepalis; however, take a look here:

"House and Senate GOP negotiators neared agreement Monday on a budget blueprint that delivering an almost $40 billion budget boost to the Pentagon. The emerging plan relies on deep cuts to domestic agency budgets and safety net programs for the poor."

There has to be something more to all the U.S. good will, especially with the CIA flying in.

A US Air Force C-17 carrying 70 search experts and 45 tons of cargo was on the way to Nepal on Monday, with a second flight due the following day.

Two Army Special Forces teams that were in Nepal when the earthquake struck are aiding in rescue efforts, officials said. 

Say again?

Two teams of US Army Green Beret soldiers happened to be in Nepal for training when the deadly earthquake struck and are staying to help with search and relief efforts. 

Just happened to be there, huh?

The 11-person crew of a C-130 cargo plane that brought them to Nepal also is remaining in case it is needed to evacuate any American citizens.

Kipp Branch, senior medical supply officer for the MAP International charity, said the group is putting together an extensive medical supply shipment that will only be sent once it has clearance to land and distribute emergency health supplies intended to support 10,000 people for three months.

“The challenge now is getting the airport up and running,” he said from Brunswick, Ga., where he is organizing the shipment that will probably be sent from the Netherlands via a commercial cargo flight.

He said the huge amount of aid being sent means the airport will be challenged to accommodate all the flights.

“The world is trying to respond, which is a good thing, and the systems and networks tend to work a little bit slower due to the traffic volume coming in,” he said.

Not to minimize this horrendous disaster at all, but so often the "world" ignores such things. All depends where it happens. I'm think Pakistan and Afghanistan floods and earthquakes, the typhoons ripping through South Asia that get brief mention, etc, etc.

United Nations spokesman Farhan Haq said the UN is releasing $15 million from its central emergency response fund to help victims. But he also acknowledged problems getting relief supplies into the country and the pressure on the airport.

He said food trucks are on their way to affected regions outside the Katmandu Valley, with distribution of the food expected to start Tuesday. The aid program will probably be needed for an extended period of time.

I'll be tracking the coverage for you.


Also see: 

"As torrential rain and heavy winds continued to batter Alabama’s coast Monday, the Coast Guard suspended its search for four people missing after a weekend storm killed two mariners participating in a weekend regatta. The agency said the search would resume as soon as the weather allows."

Oh, yeah, the Mediterranean crisis regarding Obummer's war refugees. Down the old memory hole as the entire world and the Globe coverage rushes to Nepal. Will those mountain passes be important as WWIII progresses?

Captain of doomed ferry sentenced to life in prison

That didn't make my printed paper, but even that is getting more coverage than the migrants now.