The family of an Augusta woman who was hiking in Nepal at the time of last Saturday’s massive earthquake is holding out hope that she will be found alive, and they are seeking donations to help find her.

Yoga instructor Dawn Habash, 57, last contacted her family April 17 as she was setting out on an eight- to 10-day trek in the Langtang area, which includes Langtang National Park, north of Kathmandu.

More than 6,200 people have been confirmed dead and another 14,000 injured since the 7.8-magnitude quake struck on April 25. Thousands of people are still unaccounted for.

Habash’s daughter, Yasmine Habash, said her mother is still among those who are not accounted for.

“It’s been confirmed she has not been evacuated,” Yasmine Habash said. “She’s still missing.”

She said a fellow hiker who was evacuated from the area talked to Dawn Habash on the morning of the earthquake in the village of Kayanjin. The rescued trekker said Habash that morning was planning a day trip to higher peaks.


“The weather turned,” Yasmine Habash said. “She may have changed her mind.”

If that happened, Dawn Habash may well have gone to Langtang. According to multiple media reports, the quakes appeared to have wiped out nearly the entire village and its 600 residents, as well as other villages in that area.

“If she was at Langtang Village, that’s not good news,” said Yasmine Habash, who traveled through Nepal with her mother several years ago. “It’s been decimated. … There are, as far as I know, no survivors.”

Yasmine Habash and her brother, Khaled Habash of Portland, are desperate for any nuggets of information they can get about their mother. They have called the U.S. Embassy in Nepal at least once a day since then but have not been given details on specific attempts to find her. The siblings also have contacted news outlets, including CNN, which reported their mother’s story.


Yasmine Habash said embassy officials are “very aware of mom’s high-profile case, and they’ve assured us she’s on the priority list.”


“They know her name and her face,” she said.

Yasmine Habash said the family is in regular contact with online volunteers trying to connect families and with people on the ground conducting the searches. British mountain climber Adrian Hayes is planning to conduct a search in the area Dawn Habash is believed to be in.

“We have pilots who know us and have my mother’s picture,” Yasmine Habash said. “Adrian Hayes has my mother’s picture and is about to do his own independent search.”

The family has established an online fundraising campaign – “Rescue Dawn Habash in Nepal” at – that already had generated more than $7,000 by Friday afternoon. The Red Barn restaurant on Riverside Drive in Augusta will donate 50 percent of all of the proceeds it takes in between 2 and 4 p.m. Sunday.

“We go to the Red Barn a couple of times of year at least,” Yasmine Habash said. “It’s very kind of them to remember us and to know us.”

Yasmine Habash said the money is being collected in case she and her brother need to travel to Nepal or to hire a private search-and-rescue effort. There are currently no specific plans to do either, but that could change quickly.


“We’re just creating it as (a) pre-emptive effort for something we may need over the weekend,” Yasmine Habash said. “Time is of the essence at this point. It’s been six days.

“So far we haven’t had any search-and-rescue parties out there. We need more than just helicopter rescue at this point. It sounds like we really need people on the ground searching.”


Yasmine Habash said she and her family are holding out hope that Dawn Habash will contact them, or come home, without using additional resources. She said any money not used to find her mother will be donated to organizations that are conducting the searches or helping to rebuild Nepal.

“This money is going to Nepal, no matter what,” Yasmine Habash said.

Khaled Habash created a Facebook page called “Find Dawn Habash in Nepal After Earthquake 2015” that is dedicated to finding his mother, who is an experienced world traveler on her fourth trip to Nepal.


She was hiking alone, not with an organized tour company, though her family suspects she met and befriended other trekkers along the way.

Dawn Habash grew up in Gardiner and teaches yoga in the Augusta area, both in her own home-based studio, Soul Exposed Yoga, and at other class locations.


Her trip to Nepal is part of a six-month sabbatical, which started with a trip to another favorite destination, India, where Dawn and Yasmine Habash spent five weeks together. At the end of their trip to India, on March 20, Yasmine Habash returned to her home in Alaska while her mother flew to Kathmandu to continue her adventure. The trip was to include trekking and meditating. She had been expected to fly out of Nepal this past Wednesday.

Yasmine Habash has joined her family in Maine since the earthquake. Together they are sharing a vigil they hope will end at any moment with the news that Dawn Habash has been found alive. Yasmine Habash acknowledged that hope is increasingly difficult to grasp.

“There’s space for hope,” she said. “It just seems smaller. Obviously, we should stay positive. It’s easier said than done.”

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