When my room started shaking in Delhi, I ran down the building with my kids and family and waited for the tremors to pass. And like every other social media fanatic, I went about posting tweets on the earthquake once it had passed, some relevant ones and some funny. Not realising how on the other side of the world, in Nepal, it was to cause so much catastrophe.
What hit Nepal was a massive earthquake with the magnitude of 7.9 killing thousands and destroying the homes of many.
The earthquake triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest, killing at least 19, making it the deadliest day on the mountain in history. It triggered another huge avalanche in Langtang valley, where 250 are now missing. Centuries-old buildings were destroyed at UNESCO World Heritage sites in the Kathmandu Valley, including some at the Kathmandu Durbar Square, the Patan Durbar Square and the Bhaktapur Durbar Square. Nepal’s government has declared three days of mourning after the quake.
Continued aftershocks occurred throughout Nepal, with one shock reaching a magnitude of 6.7 on 26 April. The country is at continued risk of landslides as well. Even five days after the Great Quake, rescue teams are still pulling out survivors trapped under rubble both inside and outside Kathmandu Valley.
Even before the earthquake, Nepal, with a total Gross Domestic Product of USD$19.921 billion (according to a 2012 estimate),was one of Asia’s poorest countries, and now has little ability to fund a major reconstruction effort on its own.
According to seismological data, the ground beneath the capital Kathmandu may have moved about three metres (10 feet) southward, said University of Cambridge tectonics expert James Jackson. Such was the damage caused by it.
I recently met a young girl who was rescued by Indian Air Force(IAF) stationed in Nepal. Neelam, was in Nepal on a trip organised by her office with 15 other colleagues. She states her experience ;
I was on this trip organised by my office and we had reached Kathmandu on the 24th, after visiting Pokhara. We went out to get breakfast and while some of us stayed in the restaurant to get breakfast, some ventured out to shop. This is when the building started shaking. All of us ran down as we saw the cracks in the building coming up. Meanwhile our colleagues had already ran away as there were buildings collapsing all around and you just couldn’t stand in the marketplace. You see, buildings in Nepal are not earthquake resistant and are built very closely. When the aftershock hit, we saw the restaurant building also collapsing. We had to literally beg the taxi guy to get us to the airport and of course we paid through our noses to do that. We were reunited with our colleagues at the Kathmandu airport. Here we stood for three days in heat, rain and cold awaiting our turn to be airlifted by the IAF. The Kathmandu airport . The Kathmandu airport has two runways, one was occupied by the IAF while the other had private airlines flying in. so not many flights were taking off. Even water was being sold at 250 rs a bottle. Luckily, we were carrying enough cash to pay for our food and help some others around. Even today, I don’t feel very settled and am trying to overcome the trauma of the incident.
Reetu Kunwar Puri, belongs to Kathmandu, but stays in Delhi now. Her family still resides in Kathmandu. While they are safe, she shares a traumatic story;
My parent’s neighbour, owner of Shreshtha lodge there, went to a blood donation camp at Kastamandap, after the first earthquake. The drive was being held in the basement of the building and suddenly the aftershock occurred. The building could not withstand and he died there.
Jyotsna Maskay, narrowly escaped, the earthquake as she was working in her office that day. Her home on the seventh floor collapsed and has been categorised as in conditions beyond possibility of living. She and her husband have been sleeping in a tent outside her office since that day. While she herself has no change of clothes, she has devoted her entire time to work on supporting 10000 women especially pregnant and post birth mothers, working hand in hand with NGO, ‘Loom Nepal’.
We sit in our homes and read about it and while it affected us initially, slowly we have a tendency to forget about it and move on unless it has affected us directly.
Please do not send old clothes as government is not accepting it.
Money transfer is an issue as the government may not allow new funds to enter and taking goods for relief is better than cash.
I plead to you today, while the memory is still fresh, to make a difference with your contributions, however you chose to do it. Whether it is as small a gesture as sending Theplas or as relevant as going down to Nepal and volunteering in the rehabilitation process. Nepal needs us now and like good Samaritans let’s do our good deed.
- Actual stories from people of Nepal.