A 57-year-old yoga instructor from Augusta who had been hiking alone in Nepal was still unaccounted for Sunday night, one day after a devastating earthquake struck the Himalayan nation.

But a Portland man who was attending a Buddhism study retreat near Kathmandu, the capital, when the earthquake hit is alive and well, according to his mother.

“(Saturday) was an awful day until we got an email late Saturday night that said he was OK,” said Joan Rogers, the mother of Alec Rogers, 42. “That email wins the prize for my favorite email of all time.”

Saturday’s powerful, 7.8 magnitude earthquake, which killed more than 3,200 people, also produced great uncertainty for the children of Dawn Habash of Augusta, who were still waiting to hear from her Sunday night.

“I just hope she is somewhere safe but cut off from being able to communicate with us,” said her son, Khaled Habash of Portland.

Dawn Habash was one of several Mainers in Nepal when the deadly quake struck, setting off avalanches in the Himalayan mountains.

Habash set out on April 18 for an eight- to 10-day trek through Langtang National Park, an area about 20 miles north of Kathmandu. Her family has been expecting to hear from her any day.

“The U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu said that area is presumed to be safe, but I don’t really buy that,” said her son. He said the earthquake triggered avalanches on Mount Everest, which is farther from the epicenter than Langtang.

Khaled Habash, who owns The Blue Lobster gift shop and The Scenic Route Maine Tours, both on Commercial Street, said his mother is due to fly out of Nepal on Wednesday.

“I am very worried,” he said.

Habash has contacted the American Red Cross, the U.S. Embassy and the cable news network CNN in hopes that someone may have heard from his mother. He also added his mother’s name to Facebook’s link to people missing in the Nepal earthquake.

Habash said his mother communicates with an iPad because cellphone service is so spotty. He said he imagines his mother, who is on her fourth trip to Nepal, was trekking with other hikers she met along the way.

“I am sure all those people are looking for their loved ones as well,” Habash said.

He said he and his sister, Yasmine Habash, who lives in Alaska, have been overwhelmed by the response from well-wishers as they wait for news of their mother.

“I am having positive vibes. I am not totally freaking out yet,” Habash said.


Rogers is the son of Joan and Richard Rogers. Though Rogers is a world traveler – he had spent several months in Thailand before traveling to Nepal in March – he still calls his parents’ home on Neal Street in Portland’s West End his permanent residence.

“I’m OK, some of the local cafes are not,” Rogers wrote in a message posted on his Facebook page. The message appeared below the photograph of a cafe in Kathmandu that appears to have been obliterated by the earthquake. The photo shows a courtyard with piles of shattered bricks, roof tiles, tables and chairs.

Other Mainers in Nepal have been accounted for. Portland photographer Doug Bruns, 59, and his son, Tim, 32, were about a two-day hike away from the Mount Everest mountaineering base camp when the earthquake triggered a major avalanche there, killing at least 18 people. They are safely making their way down the mountain, Doug Bruns’ wife, Carole, said Sunday.

She had only received brief word from her husband as of Saturday night, but got a call from him Sunday morning reporting that they were out of the danger zone.

She said her husband talked about walking through devastated villages and watching helicopters going back and forth from the base camp with the dead and injured.

“After a fitful night, worried about more tremors and quakes, we decided that it was futile to push on to Everest base camp. We were receiving reports that there was widespread destruction in the region and that base camp had been decimated by a landslide. We decided to turn back,” Doug Bruns wrote on his Instagram account late Sunday night.

“We crossed the ridge from Dingboche to Pheriche, where there is a small rescue and medical station. We were struck by what the earthquake had wrought there,” Bruns wrote. “We had observed helicopters while crossing the ridge. They were shuttling back and forth bringing in the injured … and presumably the dead.”

Doug and Tim Bruns are traveling with Tim’s hiking friend, an Australian. Carole Bruns said her daughter, Allison Rockwell in Maryland, and her son’s fiancee, Candace Taylor in Colorado, have been keeping in close touch, while family and friends around the world have been reaching out to them.

She said her husband is about a five-day walk from Kathmandu. She said it is possible they could fly there from Lukla, which they should reach in another day or so.

“They are shaken but fine. When I talked with him this morning, he sounded very strong,” she said of her husband.

Meanwhile, Alison Hudson, 28, an independent documentary filmmaker from Southwest Harbor who took refuge in the doorway of her Kathmandu apartment during the earthquake, said Sunday she would be leaving Nepal “with a heavy heart” when she flies to Abu Dhabi on Monday.

Her father, Steve Hudson, said she plans to stay with friends until conditions settle down. Once they do, she plans to return to Nepal to collect the rest of her filmmaking equipment.

“Her biggest concern right now is her friends, who are still at base camp and in the mountains. She hasn’t heard from them,” Hudson said Sunday night.

Alison Hudson flew out of Lukla Airport just hours before the deadly earthquake struck. The airport is the place where most people start their climb to the Mount Everest Base Camp.

Hudson has been working in Nepal since January making a documentary on what the life of a Sherpa mountaineering guide is like. Her movie – “Close to the Edge: Life in the Khumbu” – will be shown at the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Canada.


A former Maine resident, Anjana Rajbhandary, 31, had moved back to Kathmandu in September and was there when the earthquake struck. She had come to Maine in 2002 to attend the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor and had worked at Catholic Charities Maine in Portland before deciding to return to Nepal to be with her family.

She wrote a Facebook message to the Portland Press Herald on Saturday that said she safely escaped from her home.

“People were screaming and things were falling everywhere,” Rajbhandary wrote. “It probably lasted less than five minutes from what I can remember, but it was so surreal.”


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