The HELP representative in Gangtok has sent me the following update on the aftermath of the recent earthquake (I quote him verbatim):

“The earthquake was devastating in North Sikkim, where there are several Hydro power projects are coming up. It is believe that the destruction is due to the construction of tunnel boring across the hills to channelize the water for the project. There are reports that whole villages were swept away by the land slide as it was raining for 48 hours before getting the tremors. Yesterday two buildings were collapsed on the way to Zulu’s (his brother’s) place. This morning one Building collapsed near Singtam. People are scared and lost. Most family in North Sikkim are affected. Some places are cut off as kilometers of roads are washed up.”

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HELP is rare for an organisation offering volunteer teaching in that it puts the needs of the local people before the desires of the western person wanting ‘the experience’.
Alastair SkeffingtonSaraswatimata Yumahangma English School