Tom Vater

Tom Vater

Irreverent, informed and downright eclectic crime fiction and reportage from Southeast Asia and beyond

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Nepal Earthquake – One Year On

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One year ago today I got caught up in the Nepal Earthquake. I was covering with 5th international Nepal tattoo convention with Laure Siegel and Dom Pichard. The first big quake took place as we were interviewing tattooists in the ballroom of the Yak and Yeti Hotel.

We spent the next four days wondering through the partially destroyed city, sleeping on the street, and experiencing many aftershocks. The populace was dazed and the authorities absent.

I reported for several newspapers, including the Telegraph, the Nikkei and Mediapart and for our original client Rise Tattoo.
After we left, things got worse for the Nepalis. with continuing aftershocks, the government’s inability to cope with the disaster or the funds that came into the country – the money still hasn’t reached the people who need it, and the politically motivated economic blockade by India.
There is little business in the cities and tourism remains muted. The World Heritage monuments lie as they fell. My friends in the mountains continue to struggle. The political chaos continues.
It was great to see that the tattoo convention took place again this year, but I couldn’t make it.

Just before the quake, I was up in the Everest region in the village of Kumjung, surrounded by the world’s highest peaks and snowed in by a late storm. Walking through an April snowscape with Ama Dablam suspended in white fog above us, the crunching of our shoes the only sound, was the kind of moment that is prety impossible to put into adequate words. Nepal always provides moments like that.

Thanks to those I traveled and worked with on the roof of the world in 2015, especially Jit Bahadur and Ghale Kamal, Patrick Vater, Charlie Londs, Mohan Gurung, Bijay Shrestha, Quentin Inglis, Chris Powers, Angie Tostaky, Serjiu Arnautu, Paulo Jorje Cruzes and anyone I have forgotten, and finally the wild man who did the disappearing act.
I hope to be back in Nepal soon. It’s a magical place.

My first report from the ground after the quake in The Nikkei Asian Review

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