After another spate of avalanches, the daughter of the Augusta woman missing after last month’s Nepal earthquake has been forced to evacuate the area near where her mother was traveling.

That ends, for now, the family’s on-the-ground search for Dawn Habash, the 57-year-old yoga instructor who was last seen by a hiking companion in the area of Langtang on April 25, the day of the earthquake that killed at least 8,000 and injured thousands more.

Before the earthquake, Habash reportedly planned to go to Langtang village, along the Asian country’s border with Tibet, an area that was largely destroyed in the quake. She hasn’t been found.

On Sunday, Nepalese media reported that rescue teams were evacuating villagers as aftershocks from the earthquake caused more avalanches.

This month, Habash’s daughter, Yasmine, left for Nepal with her boyfriend to search for her mother. But with aftershocks causing avalanches just above Langtang village, the pair was forced to leave. They’re now safe in Kathmandu, the country’s capital, and could return to the U.S. by week’s end, according to Yasmine Habash’s brother, Khaled, of Portland.

When asked if that ends the family’s search, he said, “I don’t want to say yes, but that might be the scenario.” He said his sister would have stayed longer if she weren’t ordered out for safety reasons.


“I don’t know what there is to do,” he said. “We’re all heartbroken, but she can’t be in a dangerous place.”

Khaled Habash said he wanted to thank people who have supported the family’s effort to find their mother. That included national media appearances and an online fundraising campaign that raised nearly $26,000. He said the money not used for expenses will go to efforts to search for and assist victims in Nepal.

Dawn Habash grew up in Gardiner, and her trip to Nepal was part of a sabbatical that started with a trip to India, where Dawn and Yasmine spent five weeks together. Yasmine returned to her home in Alaska on March 20, and her mother went to Nepal to hike and meditate. She was scheduled to come back to Maine on May 7.

On that day, Khaled Habash’s wife gave birth to a daughter, Zinnia. One of her two middle names is Dawn. He said it’s “difficult to be happy” under the circumstances, but he sees it as a sign.

“It’s really intense, but there’s no other way to think about it other than a reincarnation or a rebirth,” he said. “This little girl’s going to save us from all the heartbreak we’ve been going through.”


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