EARTHQUAKE CHARITY

From Everest to Lion Rock: hikers honour world’s highest peak and raise funds for Nepal earthquake disaster

Some 400 Nepalese living in Hong Kong, along with members of the local and international community, raise money for rebuilding efforts

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 28 May, 2017, 10:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 28 May, 2017, 11:51pm

More than 60 years ago, on May 29, 1953, two people ascended the world’s tallest peak for the first time.

That day, now known as Mount Everest Day, honours summiteers in Nepal and around the world who have reached the top of the 8,848-metre peak.

Family and students welcome home Hong Kong woman who conquered Everest

Locally, hundreds of Nepalis on Sunday celebrated the occasion by scaling a different peak thousands of kilometres away – and with a different ­purpose in mind.

Some 350 Nepalis living in the city, along with participants from both Hong Kong and overseas, hiked up to the peak of Lion Rock in celebration of those who had risked their lives conquering the world’s tallest mountain, and to raise funds for rebuilding efforts in Nepal after it was hit by a devastating earthquake in 2015.

They aimed to raise about HK$110,000.

Nepali actress Nisha Adhikari, who summited Everest in 2013, called the hike an example of “how we can come together to help the underprivileged and to tell people that we will rise again”.

The earthquake struck on April 25, 2015, and along with aftershocks that continued into May, left about 8,700 dead and at least 22,200 injured.

Two years on, rebuilding efforts have been slow. Nearly 70 per cent of those living in the most severely hit districts are still in temporary shelters, according to a March report by non-profit organisation The Asia Foundation.

Former pupils of first Hong Kong woman to summit Mount Everest recall inspiring teacher who never quits

The country’s tourism industry, a major source of income, took a battering. That year tourist numbers dropped by half before gradually recovering, according to Kamal Prasad Bhattarai, consul general for Nepal in Hong Kong.

“We also want to tell people that it is safe to travel and hike in Nepal,” he said.

Bhattarai congratulated Ada Tsang Yin-hung for being the first Hong Kong woman to make it to the top of Everest last Sunday. Tsang was joined by local physiotherapist Elton Ng Chun-ting.

Four climbers die near top of Mount Everest in tragic weekend on world’s highest peak

“I’d like to congratulate the two Hongkongers that made it to the top. It’s Hong Kong’s pride, but it’s our pride also,” he said.

Adhikari, who was invited to the hike as a guest of honour, said it was meaningful that it was being done on Mount Everest Day.

“One mountain has connected people from all walks of life from all around the world,” she said. “It’s a very special day.”

We also want to tell people that it is safe to travel and hike in Nepal
Kamal Prasad Bhattarai, Nepal consul general

Two years on, rebuilding efforts have made little progress. Nearly 70 per cent of people in the most severely hit districts are still living in temporary shelters, according to a March report published by non-profit organisation The Asia Foundation.

The country’s tourism industry, a major source of income, took a battering. Tourist numbers dropped by half that year before gradually recovering, according to Kamal Prasad Bhattarai, consul general of Nepal in Hong Kong.

“We hope that Hong Kong people will learn more about Nepal [through this hike], but we also want to tell people that it is safe to travel and hike in Nepal,” he said.

Bhattarai also congratulated former school teacher Ada Tsang Yin-hung for being the first Hong Kong woman to make it to the top of Everest last Sunday; Tsang was joined by local physiotherapist Elton Ng Chun-ting.

“I’d like to congratulate the two Hongkongers that made it to the top. It’s Hong Kong’s pride, but it’s our pride also,” he added.

Adhikari, who was invited to Hong Kong for the hike as a guest of honour, said it was meaningful that it was being celebrated on Mount Everest Day.

“Just to think of it, one mountain has connected people from all walks of life from all around the world,” she said. “To us, it’s a very special day.”