Prince Harry extends Nepal trip to rebuild quake-hit school

By BINAJ GURUBACHARYA - Associated Press ,

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Nepalese President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, right, and Britain's Prince Harry, left, shake hands during the inaugural Nepal Girls Summit 2016 in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Nepalese President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, right, and Britain's Prince Harry, left, shake hands during the inaugural Nepal Girls Summit 2016 in Kathmandu, Nepal. (Photo: Prakash Mathema/Pool Photo via AP)

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Britain's Prince Harry said Wednesday that he will extend his trip to Nepal by six days to help rebuild a school damaged by a devastating earthquake last year.

The 31-year-old prince said he will work with a charity group in a remote village, but would not give the location.

Harry arrived in Nepal on Saturday for an official visit and had been scheduled to stay for five days.

"The people I have met and the beauty of this country make it very hard to leave. Thankfully however, I'm not leaving just yet! I will be spending the next six days in a remote village with a charity called Team Rubicon," Harry said. "The team I'm joining will be working with a community to rebuild a school damaged in the earthquake."

Harry has visited earthquake-damaged heritage sites, temples and a camp where people made homeless by the April 2015 earthquake are still living.

Nearly 9,000 people were killed and 1 million houses damaged by the earthquake. It also damaged Nepal's tourism industry, which drew foreign tourists to visit Hindu temples, old palaces and trek mountain trails.

Harry said he had wanted to pay his respects to the many who died, and also show that the country is "open for business and has so much to offer."

"I hope that everyone back home who took an interest in the tour can see that Nepal is a country that you really have to come and visit," he said.

According to a Kensington Palace statement, Harry will help rebuild a school where students have been studying since the earthquake in makeshift classrooms made of poles, tarpaulins and tin. The temporary facilities provide little defense against difficult weather conditions, it said.

Team Rubicon is a U.S.-based disaster response group that combines the skills of military veterans with first responders. Harry served twice with the British military in Afghanistan before leaving the army in 2015.

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