Sherpa families share their worst nightmares after avalanche

Pemba Sherpa, 81, is now at her Khumjung-based house without her son Then Dorjee, 34, who was the sole breadearner of the family of four. Ngima Dorjee, who has lost his cousin Then Dorjee and his younger brother Phurba Ongyal, 25, has also experienced his families’ worst nightmare.

“How can I explain our suffering,” said Ngima, 39, who was spotted at Thamel, Kathmandu, with his wife Nangu Dolma while buying puja items.

The Sherpa families of Khumjung village development committee-7, Solukhumbu, have been shaken by the deaths of their loved ones.

Dorjee and Phurba Ongyal were two among 16 mountaineering support staff who were buried in the deadliest avalanche while carrying loads to the Camp I and II in the Khumbu Icefall on the slope of Mt Everest on April 18.

“His (Dorjee’s) wife Pasang Lhamu has to take care of her four-year-old son,” according to Ngima.

The poverty-stricken family has nothing to feed themselves, Ngima said.

Then Dorjee had joined mountaineering support staff when he was 20 and Phurba Ongyal also served foreign climbers for five years.

“Phurba Gyalmo (sister) and Pemba Gyalgen (brother) were fully dependent on Phurba Ongyal’s income. He wanted to tie the nuptial knot with a local girl after accomplishing this season’s risky job. His dream has been shattered,” Nangu shared.

Phurba Ongyal and Then Dorjee were deployed there for Adventure Consultants Everest Expedition and Adventurist Everest Expedition, respectively, said Ishwori Paudel, chief executive officer at the Himalayan Guides Nepal Trek, the organiser of the expeditions.

Among the deceased in the avalanche, four were Khumjung residents. “Most of the Khumjung and Khumbu residents are dependent on mountaineering activities for a living,” the couple said.

“We have abandoned this season’s expeditions to mourn our brothers’ death.”

The bereaved families are unhappy with the government’s announcement to provide just Rs 40,000 as relief. “Nearly Rs 1.5m is needed to perform puja, the 49-day long rituals,” Ngima said. Ngima, who also worked as mountain guide for 13 years is a four-time Mt Everest summiter.

The Sherpa couple asked the government to provide sufficient support to the families of the deceased.

“Don’t politicise this tragic incident,” they warned.

Source: THT