Special report: Ladakh

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Please read the following email I got today from Silvia Hostettler from swissnex India and help. The same information I got from our webdesigner Thomas Lohbeck who is cycling at the moment from Leh to Manali and further to Dharamsal. Also our friend Beatrice Fischli just back from a cycling trip in Ladakh made the same experience.
TOPtoTOP is in September in India. At this very moment we try to organize help for children and students in Ladakh. More as soon as we have some results….
Here some pictures!
“Dear Dario,
As you know, we went treking in Ladakh in the Himalayas for the second time in June 2010. It is one of the most fascinating and beautiful regions I have ever been to and the Ladakhi people are extremely kind.
On 6 August 2010 intense rainfall led to flash floods in Ladakh.
Around 200 people were killed and hundreds are still missing, presumed to be dead by now. Houses, roads, bridges, fields and animals were swept away and buried by mudslides. Estimations of damage to Ladakhs infrastructure reach 80%. At least 25’000 people have lost their homes. There is an urgent need for food, blankets, tarpaulin sheets, medicines and clothes. Those who have lost their homes and livelihoods require some sort of housing before the winter season begins in a few weeks. Temperatures can drop to minus 30 C.
Ladakh is not well known and gets little attention from the media, especially now, overshadowed by the terrible inundations in Pakistan.
The people in Ladakh will depend on privately raised contributions to try to reconstruct their lives. For instance, our friends Cristina Martinelli and Tashi Chotak Lonchey from Hidden North http://www.hiddennorth.com have lost their uncle, their animals and land, their equipment and almost everything they have worked for during the past 15 years.
It is very likely that this unusual rainfall pattern is at least partly due to climate change. In order to raise awareness about this natural disaster and the potential links with environmental changes and their effects in remote corners of the world such as in Ladakh I would be very grateful if you could include this message in the TOPtoTOP reports on your website http://www.toptotop.org.
A Swiss couple, Petra Schupp and Ueli Niederer who have been in Ladakh just a few days before the rains started, have taken the initiative of organising a collection. The funds will benefit the reconstruction of three villages where they have several friends: Phyang, Skurbuchan and Basgo. More information can be found on their website:
Donations can be transfered to:
“Hilfe für Ladakh 2010″
CH-8706 Meilen
Postkonto: 87-218378-2
IBAN: CH33 0900 0000 8721 8378 2
or to:
International Society for Ecology and Culture (ISEC) ISEC has worked for 35 years in Ladakh. The funds collected by ISEC’s Ladakh Relief Fund will be earmarked for the more far-flung villages, where hundreds of houses, water channels, and fields have been destroyed.
Thank you and see you in Bangalore on 26 September, Silvia”

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