Farewell to Pakistan - German update: "Everyone will spend the winter living in tents"

Posted: Nov 23, 2005 04:40 pm EST

(K2Climb.net) We are packing now, but our hearts are heavy, reported Thomas Mecklenburg a few days back. We're on our way back to Islamabad. All our patients have been taken care of and we have briefed our fellow doctors on how to treat the more serious cases that are still to come.

The last few days could not have been tougher for the medical aid team from Alpinclub Sachsen. The team of two worked long hours, performing surgery under deplorable conditions. They trekked to nearby mountain villages, distributing all the donated gear they had, including their own winter clothing and tents. It's getting increasingly cold now. Nights and early mornings are absolutely freezing. For us Europeans, it's difficult to imagine that everyone in the region will be spending the winter living in tents. I try not to think about and just focus on the work..."

Overcome with depression back in Islamabad

On our way back to Islamabad, we visited the town of Balakot, right at the epicenter of the earthquake. I cant describe the absolute devastation we are seeing. This is not merely a small village that has suffered, but a whole town that has been completely flattened. I cant find the strength to describe what we've seen, nor could we bring ourselves to take pictures or film. The only comparison that comes to mind is the images of Hiroshima, Berlin or Dresden after the 2nd World War.

"By the time we reached Islamabad we were overcome with depression. Unable to even speak, we barely gathered enough strength to take a hot shower and have something to eat before falling asleep.

Growing awareness among climbers

Perhaps the only positive note that can be found among all the devastation is the example that has been set and followed by the climbing community. Climbing clubs, outfitting companies, mountaineering federations, and numerous mountain-related entities are organizing funding and donations drives worldwide.

Here at ExplorersWeb, we continue to get emails from climbers of all nationalities, asking for contacts and info on how they can contribute or volunteer to go to the quake-affected areas themselves. We are also getting word from volunteers already in Pakistan, offering valuable advice and help to those wanting to join aid relief forces in the region.

How to help?

Alpinclub Sachsen team:

Mail pakistanhilfe@gmx.de if you want to help. Find also a bank account set up for donations to the project at www.alpinclub.com

Alpinclub Sachsen e.V.
Donation account Pakistan
Account Holder: Alpinclub Sachsen e.V.
Account Number: 030 866 28 02
BLZ 850 800 00
Dresdner Bank AG IBAN DE39 850 800 00

Field Touring Alpine:

Send your donated gear via:

Post (within Australia):

Drop gear off at any Mountain Designs Store in WA or to any Mountain Designs stores located in the capital cities of:
Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne or Perth. For a full list of recipient stores please, check FTA's website (check first link in links section).

Post (in the US - before November 18th):
The American Alpine Club
Pakistan Relief Fund
710 Tenth Street, Suite #100
Golden, CO 80401

Further information in the UK:
Contact Roland Hunter
Ph: 0207 498 0953
A drop off network is currently being finalized For UK donors.

Email: info@themountaincompany.co.uk


Climbers, trekkers and volunteers ready to help in Indian Kashmir or seeking further information, please contact ADEPT crew at:

Academy for Disaster Management Education Planning & Training
#403, 4th Floor, 'B' Block, Prince Gardens
40 Thambusamy Road, Kilpauk
Chennai 600010 - India
Tel: 52602403(D), 52602407
Fax: 52602404
Email: contact@ADEPTasia.org

Alpine Club of Pakistan:

Contact ACP for further information, or donate via the following back account:

Lt Col (Retd) Manzoor Hussain,
Alpine Club of Pakistan
National Bank of Pakistan Cantonment Branch,
Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

Greg Mortenson's Central Asia Institute:

Contact Central Asia Institute at:
PO Box 7209
Bozeman, MT 59771
Phone 406 585 7841
Fax 406 585 5302
Email cai@ikat.org
Web www.ikat.org

#Mountaineering #Mountaineering

"For us Europeans, it's difficult to imagine that everyone in the region will be spending the winter living in tents," reports Thomas. "I try not to think about and just focus on the work...". Image courtesy of Alpinclub Sachsen.

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