“[…] Because during my trip to Nepal to write for the Observer about last year’s avalanche on Everest, which killed 16 Sherpas, I couldn’t fail to notice the grinding poverty all around. It doesn’t look like poverty as we think of it. It has some of the most gorgeous and mesmerising landscapes on Earth. Its villages, many of which are miles from any road, look like they’ve been painted by a 19th century Romantic artist whose vision was blurred by the tears in his eyes at the sheer loveliness of the scene.
But it is one of the poorest countries in the world. Its education and healthcare are atrocious. The life chances of its people are abysmal. The only way to earn money for a vast number of Nepalese men is to go and fall off a crane in Qatar: three body bags a day arrive at Kathmandu airport from construction sites abroad.
And it’s just got so much worse. The country is in the grip of the worst humanitarian crisis in living memory. And what have we done? David Cameron has announced that Britain will be sending a team of eight people to help. The government has said we will give £5m in disaster relief. Eight people. Five million pounds – the princely sum of 12p from each of us. And here are some more numbers: 200, the years we have siphoned off their population to fight our wars for us; 43,000, the Gurkhas killed during two world wars; 141, the places ahead we are of Nepal in a list of the world’s richest countries; five, where we are in a list of its trading partners. […]”
DON’T RUSH TO NEPAL TO HELP. Read this first. Claire Bennett