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British Sikhs to build houses for Nepal earthquake victims

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

After helping the flood victims in Bosnia, a team of British Sikhs is in Nepal to help the bereft people in building their homes and providing them with food and medicine.

The members are from the Punjab-based voluntary organization Khalsa Aid.

“We have raised 250 shelters till date and the target is to raise an equal number of structures,” said Kanwar Singh of Khalsa Aid.

The team of Khalsa Aid reached Nepal within 12 hours of the first quake in the country on April 25.

“In the next 48 hours we all arrived here from Britain,” Kanwar Singh added.

A builder by profession and volunteer of the charity, Jim Winkworth is in charge of the reconstruction work in Nepal.

“We are raising structures with new material or stuff retrieved from the debris,” Winkworth told IANS.

“The charity daily holds community kitchens in and around Kathmandu, providing food to over 8,000 people,” said Amanpreet Singh, project co-ordinator.

Singh recently came in Nepal from Bosnia, and he said that if needed they might extend the project in this land-locked country.

Khalsa Aid is an international non-profit aid and relief organization founded on the Sikh principles of selfless service and universal love. It was established in the year 1999 and helped in providing relief assistance to the victims of disasters, wars and other tragic events around the world.

The organization has provided 10 tonnes of relief material, comprising food, water purification tablets, medicines and tents for the quake victims.

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9 Climbers Pulled From Snow After A Sudden Storm On Mount Gurja, Nepal

Mountaineering experts are questioning how the experienced team was so badly hit at their base camp at 3,500 meters.

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Mount Gurja
Tourists take pictures at Sarangkot in Pokhara, with the view of the Mount Annapurna range in the background, some 200 km (124 miles) west of Kathmandu, Nov. 30, 2008. Annapurna, at 8,091 meters high, is the 10th highest mountain in the world.. VOA

A rescue team Sunday began retrieving the bodies of nine climbers killed in a violent storm on Nepal’s Mount Gurja, a freak accident that has left the mountaineering community reeling.

A helicopter dropped four mountain guides at the camp where the South Korean climbing expedition was staying when powerful winds and snow swept through, killing the entire team and scattering their bodies as far as 500 meters (yards) away.

“All nine bodies have been found and the team are in the process of bringing them down,” said Siddartha Gurung, a chopper pilot who is coordinating the retrieval mission.

Mount Gurja
A helicopter dropped four mountain guides at the camp.

A second helicopter along with a team of rescue specialists and villagers were also involved in the mission, which has been hampered by strong winds as well as the camp’s remoteness in the Dhaulagiri mountain range of Nepal’s Annapurna region.

The bodies of the climbers, five South Koreans and four Nepalis, will be flown to Pokhara, a tourist hub that serves as a gateway to the Annapurna region, and then to Kathmandu, said Yogesh Sapkota of Simrik Air, a helicopter company involved in the effort.

‘Like a bomb went off’

The expedition’s camp was destroyed by the powerful storm, which hit the area late Thursday or Friday, flattening all the tents and leaving a tangled mess of tarpaulin and broken polls.

“Base camp looks like a bomb went off,” said Dan Richards of Global Rescue, a U.S.-based emergency assistance group that will be helping with the retrieval effort.

Mount Gurja
Wangchu Sherpa of Trekking Camp Nepal, organised the expedition

The expedition was led by experienced South Korean climber Kim Chang-ho, who has climbed the world’s 14 highest mountains without using supplemental oxygen.

Experts puzzled

Mountaineering experts are questioning how the experienced team was so badly hit at their base camp at 3,500 meters.

Also Read: Nepal Saves Its Tiger Population, Doubles It

“At this point we don’t understand how this happened. You don’t usually get those sorts of extreme winds at that altitude and base camps are normally chosen because they are safe places,” Richards said.

The team had been on 7,193-meter (23,599-foot) Mount Gurja since early October, hoping to scale the rarely climbed mountain via a new route. (VOA)

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