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Langtang Valley Update

Posted on: April 30, 2015


Prayer flags in the Langtang Himal. [Photo] Sudan Shrestha/Wikimedia Commons

The estimated number of people dead in Langtang village has increased since we reported on the earthquake's impact on that region on April 28. Nepali Times has reported "Nearly all the 200 inhabitants of this tiny village at the base of Mt. Langtang [Lirung, 7234m] are presumed to have perished," and the village is "gone."

CNN reports the death toll from the 7.8 earthquake on April 25 has reached 5,500 people throughout Nepal, with many still missing. Nepal's prime minister stated the death toll might rise to 10,000 people.

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The earthquake and its aftershocks triggered a series of avalanches on various Himalayan peaks. Mountain guide Oskar Piazza and Dr. Gigliola Mancinelli were killed in the avalanche, coming from the north, that destroyed Langtang village, according to the Italian website Planet Mountain. Piazza and Mancinelli's teammates Giovanni Pizzorini and Pino Antonini survived.

American alpinist Colin Haley, who was visiting Langtang Valley with his French climbing partner Aymeric Clouet and Clouet's family, has since been evacuated from the area and is scheduled to depart tomorrow from Kathmandu. Haley wrote in a message on his Facebook Page, "Most of the villagers in Kyanjing Gompa (3870m) [in Langtang Valley] lost their homes, their livelihood, and 80 percent of their family members in the span of about two minutes. The next village down-valley, Langtang, was essentially completely obliterated by an enormous avalanche.... The earthquake was nothing in comparison to the avalanches it triggered. The devastation is immense." Haley adds, "While I'd like to believe, and do believe, that I managed to help the people of Kyanjing Gompa in some small ways, I certainly have not been the hero that seems to be portrayed on the Internet. I have mostly been focusing simply on staying alive." Haley received scrapes, bruises sore muscles and an injury to his neck from being thrown 100 feet. "I'm grateful to be alive," he says, "and deeply sorry for all those who aren't."

"The entire village is gone, our house is gone, where can I go once this is over?," survivor Dawa Tamang told the Nepali Times.

There is a list of missing people under #langtang on Twitter.

To donate to The Langtang Survivors Fund, visit the Just Giving Langtang Survivors' Page. To learn more about charitable organizations in Nepal, see this page by the Better Business Bureau.

Google Earth: Langtang

Sources: CNN, justgiving.com, mountainhydrology.com, Nepali Times, planetmountain.com, The New York Times

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