Malcolm Timms, past master of Rockhaven and Horwich Lodge No 2324 and his wife have just returned home safely from Kathmandu in Nepal.
As a voluntary work for a Scottish Charity, Malcolm went out to Nepal at the beginning of April to work with a number of micro agricultural businesses on behalf of Christian Aid, VSO and Practical Action. This was his fourth tour overseas and his second to Asia.
They were in their apartment on the second floor of a five story apartment block just outside Kathmandu when the earthquake struck and found the ordeal terrifying.
They were caught in both quakes and had to spend some four nights sleeping in the open under temporary shelter. The second earthquake on Sunday 26 April 2015 had been preceded by some 200 aftershocks, which in some cases were only minutes apart. Power was intermittent before the second earthquake, but after the second was non-existent.
Fortunately whilst the main hotel was badly damaged they had a spring water supply which they were able to use. The hotel staff members were magnificent and whilst residents slept in the open the staff provided three meals a day for free in the open grounds. The small bar the staff set up in the corner of the field was, as you can imagine, well used.
Malcolm said they were unable to wash or change and he had just destroyed the underpants he had to wear for some three days.
Without any assistance from the UK government the charity he works for through their insurers were able to organise a flight out at 23:00 on 29 April 2015. They arrived back in Manchester at lunch time on the following day having flown via Dubai.
Even at the end, the distressing sight of funeral pyres burning as far as the eye could see along the banks of the rivers was tear jerking.
Malcolm added, “Please urge all Masons to support the aid relief. Nepal is so poor that even before the quake, the infrastructure was non-existent. Food and water is so scarce and water born disease is already starting to spread.”