Today I received the following email from the Vice President of Communications of Habitat for Humanity International:
October 8, 2015
To whom it may concern:
This is official notice from Habitat for Humanity International that we have regrettably had to cancel the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project that was to take place in Nepal, Nov. 1-6, 2015.
We were forced to cancel the project due to continued civil unrest taking place in Nepal as a result of the announcement of the country’s new constitution. We have been carefully monitoring the situation and new circumstances have proven to be safety risks for our volunteers and staff.
Currently, goods and materials coming into the country have been halted. This includes gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and cooking fuel. The country is also running low on essential supplies including food and medicine. While conflicting news reports indicate that these challenges may begin to ease in the weeks ahead, there are no guarantees that will be the case, and critical time has been lost in the past two weeks that cannot be regained.
The U.S. Embassy located in Kathmandu has issued this advisory:
Message for U.S. Citizens from the U.S. State Department: Travel and Fuel
October 8, 2015
“We recommend that travelers evaluate any upcoming travel plans in Nepal. Due to the nationwide fuel shortage, due to blockages at the border with India, many of the safety measures that would normally be relied on in an emergency situation may become unavailable. These measures include air medevacs and local hospitals. If you are planning multi-day travel the situation could change drastically during your trip. It is estimated that the fuel situation will not return to normal until 2-3 weeks after the border supply lines are fully restored.”
As a result of these circumstances, we request that you give full consideration to refunding tickets purchased by our volunteers who were flying into and out of Kathmandu, Nepal.
We appreciate your consideration of this request and hope you will be able to issue full refunds to those who pledged to give their time and effort to help families in Nepal build affordable housing.
Senior Vice President, Communications of Habitat for Humanity International
Surely, I can understand that it would be too much of a risk to bring 1,500 volunteers into Nepal. And to continue the project under such uncertain circumstances would not be the responsible thing to do. Additionally, bringing in so many people would take away precious local resources already in short supply from homeowners and the people of Nepal.
So, now, everybody involved is working on a plan B. I am also watching out for projects in Nepal which are worth to support in case I fly to Kathmandu in the end of the month. The flight ticket is not cancelled yet…
There will be a follow up with additional information in terms of the next steps with all people involved no later than Friday, October 16. Though there may not have been all questions answered now, I wanted to be sure you receive this information as soon as the decision was made. I am really sorry to forward you that kind of information but, trust me, I am also very, very, very disappointed.
I will keep you in the loop as soon as new information arises.