The organisation travels to the Mt Everest National Park in the Upper Solukhumbu every year to provide primary eye care and training for the hospital staff at the Khunde Hillary Hospital.
“It is good that we are providing primary eye care to the region but what they need now is the security of returning to a safe home and school following the earthquake” explained Eyes4Everest President and Behavioural Optometrist Shaun Chang.
“We have a good relationship with the Himalayan Trust who has a team on the ground assessing the damage and working alongside community leaders to implement the rebuilding process” said Shaun.
Solukhumbu is a north-eastern mountainous district in Nepal. The district sustained heavy loss in properties both private and public. Most recent reports indicate that 47 schools have been fully damaged and 43 schools have been partially damaged due to the earthquake. 1555 households were fully destroyed and 4697 partially damaged (Source: Himalayan Trust)
The Khunde Hillary Hospital where Eyes4Everest are based at only sustained minor damage and remains fully operational. Hospital director Dr Kamitemba Sherpa lost his home to the quake but continues to attend to the medical needs of its residents.
In the aftermath of the first earthquake and aftershocks, around 8,400 people are reported to have been killed and more than 17,000 injured. The death toll expected to rise. The UN estimated that 8 million people across the country were affected by the disaster – more than a quarter of the population. It is thought that 2.8 million people are displaced, with more than 70,000 homes destroyed and a further 530,000 damaged across the country’s 39 affected districts (out of 75).
Following the second earthquake, Eyes4Everest president Shaun Chang received an update from the Himalayan Trust via a Sherpa nurse. She reported no fatalities in the area, but further damage to buildings:
“Everyone is sleeping outside tonight fearing it is unsafe to go back home.(we are lucky its not monsoon season yet) The epicentre was at Dolakha, most of the houses in Dolakha, Ramechhap, Solukhumbu and the Sindupalchowk districts have collapsed. Reports are that most of the houses in Junbesi, Goli, Pike Loding, Salleri, Bakanje and the nearest district village of Bamti Bhandar have also collapsed now too.
The Thame bridge has collapsed but luckily Thame is not cut off as there is still the lower route with the small bridge. There was rain this morning that made sleeping and living outside uncomfortable and limited helicopter access due to poor visibility. The government of Nepal has ordered all schools to remain closed until the end of May in the fourteen worse affected districts of Nepal.”
Eyes4Everest is raising funds on behalf of the Himalayan Trust Rebuilding Appeal. You can donate to the Appeal by going to www.givenow.com.au/e4eletsrebuildnepal . All donations over $2 are tax deductible. Eyes4Everest is holding an information night on Sunday June 21 at the Mustang Nepalese Restaurant in Crows Nest. For more information join the Eyes4Everest Facebook Page or email Eyes4Everest at firstname.lastname@example.org
Shaun Chang is a Behavioural Optometrist working in Forestville. Born in Taiwan but raised in New Zealand he was inspired by Sir Edmund Hillary who he regards a humble man that cared more about the welfare of the Sherpa people than the fame of ascending Mt Everest. After visiting the Hillary Hospital in February 2013 and learning that some children were having difficulties seeing the board, Shaun established Eyes4Everest to provide primary eye care for residents of the Everest National Park as well as provide training for the hospital staff. In Australia, Shaun specialise in checking the eyes and visual cognitive functions of children with learning difficulties. He is developing an IOP application free for parents to help them screen their children for vision related learning difficulties.