A year after Nepal quake, some united in grief; others climb again

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One year since Nepal earthquake and landslides
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A year after Nepal quake, some united in grief; others climb again
A combination picture shows people working past damaged buildings following an earthquake May 1, 2015 (top) and the same location after the debris has been cleared at Sankhu, on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal, February 14, 2016. The two devastating earthquakes that struck Nepal last year killed almost 9,000 people across the country. Inside the Kathmandu Valley almost 2,000 died, and some of the area's most important cultural and heritage sites were completely destroyed. As Kathmandu inhabitants prepare to mark the one-year anniversary of the event, thousands are still displaced and millions are living in temporary shelters. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar SEARCH "ANNIVERSARY QUAKE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A combination picture shows a man walking along a street near a collapsed house following an earthquake May 1, 2015 (top) and the same location after the debris had been cleared in Kathmandu, Nepal February 17, 2016. The two devastating earthquakes that struck Nepal last year killed almost 9,000 people across the country. Inside the Kathmandu Valley almost 2,000 died, and some of the area's most important cultural and heritage sites were completely destroyed. As Kathmandu inhabitants prepare to mark the one-year anniversary of the event, thousands are still displaced and millions are living in temporary shelters. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar SEARCH "ANNIVERSARY QUAKE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A man walks past the remains of houses damaged during the April 2015 earthquake, in Bhaktapur, Nepal March 18, 2016. The two devastating earthquakes that struck Nepal last year killed almost 9,000 people across the country. Inside the Kathmandu Valley almost 2,000 died, and some of the area's most important cultural and heritage sites were completely destroyed. As Kathmandu inhabitants prepare to mark the one-year anniversary of the event, thousands are still displaced and millions are living in temporary shelters. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar SEARCH "ANNIVERSARY QUAKE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A woman and a child walk past the remains of collapsed houses damaged during the April 2015 earthquake, in Bhaktapur, Nepal March 18, 2016. The two devastating earthquakes that struck Nepal last year killed almost 9,000 people across the country. Inside the Kathmandu Valley almost 2,000 died, and some of the area's most important cultural and heritage sites were completely destroyed. As Kathmandu inhabitants prepare to mark the one-year anniversary of the event, thousands are still displaced and millions are living in temporary shelters. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar SEARCH "ANNIVERSARY QUAKE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Workers rebuild a temple damaged during the April 2015 earthquake inside the courtyard of Patan Durbar Square in Lalitpur, Nepal March 28, 2016. The two devastating earthquakes that struck Nepal last year killed almost 9,000 people across the country. Inside the Kathmandu Valley almost 2,000 died, and some of the area's most important cultural and heritage sites were completely destroyed. As Kathmandu inhabitants prepare to mark the one-year anniversary of the event, thousands are still displaced and millions are living in temporary shelters. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar SEARCH "ANNIVERSARY QUAKE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
People fetch water from a well near the debris of collapsed houses damaged during the April 2015 earthquake, in Bhaktapur, Nepal March 18, 2016. The two devastating earthquakes that struck Nepal last year killed almost 9,000 people across the country. Inside the Kathmandu Valley almost 2,000 died, and some of the area's most important cultural and heritage sites were completely destroyed.àAs Kathmandu inhabitants prepare to mark the one-year anniversary of the event, thousands are still displaced and millions are living in temporary shelters. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar SEARCH "ANNIVERSARY QUAKE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Sushmita Ghimire, 30, from Kavre District, rebuilds her temporary shelter after a windstorm destroyed it at a camp where families displaced by the April 2015 earthquake live in Kathmandu, Nepal March 29, 2016. The two devastating earthquakes that struck Nepal last year killed almost 9,000 people across the country. Inside the Kathmandu Valley almost 2,000 died, and some of the area's most important cultural and heritage sites were completely destroyed. As Kathmandu inhabitants prepare to mark the one-year anniversary of the event, thousands are still displaced and millions are living in temporary shelters. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar SEARCH "ANNIVERSARY QUAKE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A worker renovates the Boudhanath Stupa, damaged during the April 2015 earthquake, in Kathmandu, Nepal March 17, 2016. Listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO, the Boudhanath Stupa is considered one of the holiest places for Buddhists. The two devastating earthquakes that struck Nepal last year killed almost 9,000 people across the country. Inside the Kathmandu Valley almost 2,000 died, and some of the area's most important cultural and heritage sites were completely destroyed. As Kathmandu inhabitants prepare to mark the one-year anniversary of the event, thousands are still displaced and millions are living in temporary shelters. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar SEARCH "ANNIVERSARY QUAKE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An old brick (R) recovered from a collapsed temple is placed beside a new brick in the courtyard of Patan Durbar Square which is being renovated in Lalitpur, Nepal April 6, 2016. The two devastating earthquakes that struck Nepal last year killed almost 9,000 people across the country. Inside the Kathmandu Valley almost 2,000 died, and some of the area's most important cultural and heritage sites were completely destroyed. As Kathmandu inhabitants prepare to mark the one-year anniversary of the event, thousands are still displaced and millions are living in temporary shelters. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar SEARCH "ANNIVERSARY QUAKE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A worker rebuilds a building damaged during the April 2015 earthquake inside the courtyard of Patan Durbar Square in Lalitpur, Nepal March 28, 2016. The two devastating earthquakes that struck Nepal last year killed almost 9,000 people across the country. Inside the Kathmandu Valley almost 2,000 died, and some of the area's most important cultural and heritage sites were completely destroyed. As Kathmandu inhabitants prepare to mark the one-year anniversary of the event, thousands are still displaced and millions are living in temporary shelters. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar SEARCH "ANNIVERSARY QUAKE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Wooden sculptures from a collapsed temple damaged during the April 2015 earthquake are collected and kept in the courtyard of Patan Durbar Square in Lalitpur, Nepal March 28, 2016. The two devastating earthquakes that struck Nepal last year killed almost 9,000 people across the country. Inside the Kathmandu Valley almost 2,000 died, and some of the area's most important cultural and heritage sites were completely destroyed.àAs Kathmandu inhabitants prepare to mark the one-year anniversary of the event, thousands are still displaced and millions are living in temporary shelters. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar SEARCH "ANNIVERSARY QUAKE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A repaired wooden sculpture, which was recovered from a collapsed temple damaged during the April 2015 earthquake, is pictured lying in the courtyard of Patan Durbar Square in Lalitpur, Nepal March 28, 2016. The two devastating earthquakes that struck Nepal last year killed almost 9,000 people across the country. Inside the Kathmandu Valley almost 2,000 died, and some of the area's most important cultural and heritage sites were completely destroyed. As Kathmandu inhabitants prepare to mark the one-year anniversary of the event, thousands are still displaced and millions are living in temporary shelters. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar SEARCH "ANNIVERSARY QUAKE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A sculptor carves a copy of a wooden sculpture to replace an original damaged during the April 2015 earthquake, in the courtyard of Patan Durbar Square in Lalitpur, Nepal March 28, 2016. The two devastating earthquakes that struck Nepal last year killed almost 9,000 people across the country. Inside the Kathmandu Valley almost 2,000 died, and some of the area's most important cultural and heritage sites were completely destroyed.àAs Kathmandu inhabitants prepare to mark the one-year anniversary of the event, thousands are still displaced and millions are living in temporary shelters. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar SEARCH "ANNIVERSARY QUAKE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Wooden sculptures from a collapsed temple damaged during the April 2015 earthquake are collected and kept in the courtyard of Patan Durbar Square in Lalitpur, Nepal March 28, 2016. The two devastating earthquakes that struck Nepal last year killed almost 9,000 people across the country. Inside the Kathmandu Valley almost 2,000 died, and some of the area's most important cultural and heritage sites were completely destroyed. As Kathmandu inhabitants prepare to mark the one-year anniversary of the event, thousands are still displaced and millions are living in temporary shelters. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar SEARCH "ANNIVERSARY QUAKE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Buildings stand in Kathmandu, Nepal February 17, 2016. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
A combination picture shows temporary makeshift shelters after an earthquake April 28, 2015 (top) and the same location in Kathmandu, Nepal February 17, 2016. The two devastating earthquakes that struck Nepal last year killed almost 9,000 people across the country. Inside the Kathmandu Valley almost 2,000 died, and some of the area's most important cultural and heritage sites were completely destroyed. As Kathmandu inhabitants prepare to mark the one-year anniversary of the event, thousands are still displaced and millions are living in temporary shelters. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar SEARCH "ANNIVERSARY QUAKE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Kumari Kaflay (R), from Sindhupalchok District, arranges her belongings after a windstorm destroyed her temporary shelter at a camp where families displaced by the April 2015 earthquake live in Kathmandu, Nepal, March 29, 2016. The two devastating earthquakes that struck Nepal last year killed almost 9,000 people across the country. Inside the Kathmandu Valley almost 2,000 died, and some of the area's most important cultural and heritage sites were completely destroyed. As Kathmandu inhabitants prepare to mark the one-year anniversary of the event, thousands are still displaced and millions are living in temporary shelters. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar SEARCH "ANNIVERSARY QUAKE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A view of Bashantapur Durbar Square, a UNESCO world heritage site, is pictured after the April 2015 earthquake debris had been cleared in Kathmandu, Nepal February 16, 2016. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
Vendors sell flowers along the Kastamandap temple, which collapsed during April 2015 earthquake, in Kathmandu, Nepal, February 16, 2016. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
A combination picture shows trapped people being rescued inside a temple in Bashantapur Durbar Square after an earthquake April 25, 2015 (top) and the same location after the debris had been cleared in Kathmandu, Nepal February 16, 2016. The two devastating earthquakes that struck Nepal last year killed almost 9,000 people across the country. Inside the Kathmandu Valley almost 2,000 died, and some of the area's most important cultural and heritage sites were completely destroyed. As Kathmandu inhabitants prepare to mark the one-year anniversary of the event, thousands are still displaced and millions are living in temporary shelters. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar SEARCH "ANNIVERSARY QUAKE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF INJURY OR DEATHA combination picture shows people carrying the body of a victim on a stretcher after an earthquake April 25, 2015 (top) and vendors selling flowers after the debris had been cleared in Kathmandu, Nepal, February 16, 2016. The two devastating earthquakes that struck Nepal last year killed almost 9,000 people across the country. Inside the Kathmandu Valley almost 2,000 died, and some of the area's most important cultural and heritage sites were completely destroyed.àAs Kathmandu inhabitants prepare to mark the one-year anniversary of the event, thousands are still displaced and millions are living in temporary shelters. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar SEARCH "ANNIVERSARY QUAKE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES TEMPLATE OUT
People walk along a road where a house collapsed during the April 2015 earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal February 17, 2016. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
A combination picture shows people walking along a deserted road near a collapsed house after an earthquake April 29, 2015 (top) and the same location in Kathmandu, Nepal February 17, 2016. The two devastating earthquakes that struck Nepal last year killed almost 9,000 people across the country. Inside the Kathmandu Valley almost 2,000 died, and some of the area's most important cultural and heritage sites were completely destroyed. As Kathmandu inhabitants prepare to mark the one-year anniversary of the event, thousands are still displaced and millions are living in temporary shelters. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar SEARCH "ANNIVERSARY QUAKE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Old statues are placed in the newly built walls of a temple damaged during the April 2015 earthquake in the courtyard of Patan Durbar Square as it is being renovated in Lalitpur, Nepal April 6, 2016. The two devastating earthquakes that struck Nepal last year killed almost 9,000 people across the country. Inside the Kathmandu Valley almost 2,000 died, and some of the area's most important cultural and heritage sites were completely destroyed. As Kathmandu inhabitants prepare to mark the one-year anniversary of the event, thousands are still displaced and millions are living in temporary shelters. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar SEARCH "ANNIVERSARY QUAKE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A view of a street where a house collapsed during the April 2015 earthquake is seen in Kathmandu, Nepal February 17, 2016. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
A street that was damaged during the April 2015 earthquake is seen after the debris has been cleared at Sankhu, on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal February 14, 2016. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
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KATHMANDU (Reuters) - For survivors and relatives of victims of a landslide that struck with the force of half an atom bomb it is a time to grieve. For witnesses to a fatal avalanche at the Mount Everest base camp, it is time to climb again.

A year after the worst earthquake in Nepal's history struck at four minutes to midday on April 25 last year, the Himalayan nation is remembering the 9,000 victims of the 7.8 magnitude quake and a second tremor 17 days later.

Among those returning to Nepal are adventurers like Australian photographer Athena Zelandonii, who is trekking again to attend a ceremony of remembrance on Monday in Langtang village, obliterated by a huge rockfall that took the lives of 285 locals and foreigners.

They will be remembered at the memorial event where, starting at 11:56 a.m., the name of each victim will be read out.

"There was no question of not coming back," Zelandonii, 26, told Reuters in the capital Kathmandu.

Part of a group of people who searched for loved ones or themselves lived through the disaster, Zelandonii survived an avalanche on the mountain slopes above Langtang, but was stranded for days by the rockfall.

Still missing in the Langtang area is American Dawn Habash, a 57-year-old yoga instructor from Augusta, Maine, who was trekking in Nepal for the fourth time.

Son Khaled and daughter Yasmine worked shifts to try and find out about their mother after the earthquake - all they could find out was that she was last seen walking downhill toward Langtang just before the earthquake.

Both of them and Dawn's brother Randy are in Nepal for the anniversary, and hope that at least her body can be found.

"Because we need that closure," said Khaled. "Sometimes I still get these lightning-bolt thoughts – what if? And that's not healthy."

Of 181 foreigners who died in the earthquake or are still missing, 63 were in Langtang.

Villager Kartok Lama, 30, said locals had already marked the anniversary of the quake by the Tibetan calendar that they follow. They said prayers in a hut because Langtang's two gompas, or Buddhist temples, had been destroyed.

"Almost everyone from the village is back; people are rebuilding homes and hotels, and there is work going on in the fields," she told Reuters. "We want the tourists to come back."

Monday's Langtang memorial will be preceded by national commemorations on Sunday - the quake anniversary by the Nepali calendar - at the site of Kathmandu's historic Dharahara Tower that collapsed. There will be a candlelit vigil that night and three days of national mourning.

But the commemoration will be low-key in a country where one in seven people still live in makeshift homes, mostly tin shelters that dot the countryside by the rubble of buildings devastated by the quake.

For many Nepalis it's been a lost year of political bickering over a new constitution, a blockade of the Indian border by its opponents and the failure to spend $4.1 billion in aid to rebuild, pledged by foreign donors. Tourism, which accounts for 9 percent of the economy, is down.

A RETURN TO EVEREST

Climbers have been slow to return. The number getting permission to scale the world's tallest peak, Mount Everest, in the spring fair-weather window is down to 289 from last year's 357.

No one reached the 8,850 meter (29,035 ft) summit last year after an avalanche set off by the earthquake tore through Base Camp, killing at least 18 and abruptly ending the 2015 climbing season.

The disaster, and a fatal avalanche the year before on the Khumbu Icefall approach from the Nepali side of the mountain, has led some climbing firms to reconsider whether the risks are worth fees of $50,000 or more that clients pay to summit Everest.

One climber at Base Camp a year ago, Adrian Ballinger, is leading a small party to attempt Everest's northern route from Chinese Tibet. He says it is less dangerous.

"It's a beautiful place, but a terrifying place," the American said of Nepal. A dry winter and global warming has made the icefall more treacherous than ever, added Ballinger, whose expedition company Alpenglow has suffered no Everest fatalities.

Ang Tshering Sherpa, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, disagreed, saying that an elite team called the Icefall Doctors had already secured the route. "The condition of the icefall now is like it was before the earthquake," he said.

IN THE MOUNTAIN'S SHADOW

Shaheed and Anjali Kulkarni have returned to the Everest region a year after they watched from a nearby slope as the avalanche engulfed Base Camp. They helped carry the injured to a makeshift rescue center down the mountain.

The return of the mountaineering couple from Mumbai, India, is an exception. Numbers of trekkers have plummeted - and on less-travelled routes are still down by half – guides and lodge operators say.

One is Sunita Rai, who is struggling to rebuild her Khumbila Lodge in Dhole, a hamlet perched on a ridge 4,200 meters (13,800 ft) above sea level that is part of the Gokyo Valley trail.

"Renting this lodge was my chance to break with the past and earn a decent living," she said.

Rai has rebuilt the dining room of her lodge after the earthquake, but much of the two-storey stone building is still covered in plastic sheeting. Now the 31-year-old worries how she will pay her yearly rent of $4,700 - seven times Nepal's annual per capita income - and works as a porter at times.

"The trekkers haven't returned so to pay it I have to carry heavy loads up the mountain off-season," she said.

Return to a town buried in Nepal quake

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