Grieving families say final goodbyes as Nepal ends mourning period

Thousands of people gathered across Nepal in the last day of a 13-day mourning period for the victims of the deadly earthquake. The death toll from the magnitude-7.8 quake has climbed to 8,413.

woman surveys the damage to her home by the Nepal earthquake

Hira Devi Gurungstands in front of her house demolished by the earthquake at Pangtang Village in Sindhupalchowk, Nepal

Sunil Sharma

 

This is a guest blog by Sunil Sharma, a photojournalist with Xinhua News Agency in Nepal, who shares the story of a mourning family in Pangtang, a village in Sindhupalchok District in the Bagmati Zone of central Nepal. 

 

 

 

“Oh God, why did you ruin my family?” said Siddha Bahadur Gurung, who was taking part in mourning rituals of his mother and mother-in-law.

Man mourning family deaths in Nepal following the earthquake

Siddha Bahadur Gurung observes mourning rituals for his dead mother and mother-in-law during earthquake at Pangtang Village in Sindhupalchowk, Nepal

Siddha was totally helpless as his house collapsed. Many villagers in his district were left homeless due to the catastrophic earthquake on 25 April.

“My mother and mother-in-law died in front of me; I could not do anything,” he said.

Siddha lived with his wife, two children, sister and mother, while his mother-in-law lived in another house nearby. They were all were together, chatting during lunch time, when the quake hit and turned his house to rubble.

“My mother fell down near this wall”, he said, showing me the spot on the rubble near a window, “and here my mother-in-law was near the ladder trying to hold my children but she couldn’t.

man outside his destroyed home in Pangtang Village in Sindhupalchowk, Nepal following the earthquake

Siddha Bahadur Gurung shows his damaged house where his mother and mother-in-law were buried during the earthquake at Pangtang Village in Sindhupalchowk, Nepal

“I was unconscious until my uncle pulled me out from the rubble after an hour. When I gained consciousness, I started to look for my family. We started to search for them together with my uncle.”

Siddha’s uncle, Hari was busy in his field when the earthquake struck.

man recounts his nepal earthquake experience

Hari Adhikari, Siddha’s uncle (centre) recounts the rescue of his sisters’s family from the damaged house at Pangtang Village in Sindhupalchowk, Nepal

“Suddenly, I heard a bursting sound and felt the ground shaking,” he said. “Everything was shaking, even the hills. I ran towards my house and saw all the three houses along with Siddha’s lying flat on the ground. I called for help and pulled the family members from the rubble, Unfortunately, I couldn’t save Siddha’s mother and mother-in-law.”

Siddha’s sister Hiradevi and wife Sangita are both injured. His children were injured too, more so psychologically. He is homeless now and staying in a temporary shelter provided by his neighbours. His animals (goat, chicken and ducks) are all buried under the rubble.

Siddha’s elder sister Mundrika has also lost her home and is mourning the death of her husband.

woman mourning loss of her home and husband in Nepal

Mundrika Gurung, Siddha’s elder sister, who lost her house during the earthquake cries for relief at Pangtang village in Sindhupalchowk, Nepal

His injured wife is being treated in a hospital in Kathmandu, but he has to stay with his remaining family, because his father is also too old to look after them.

family assessing the damage of Nepal earthquake on their home

Siddha and his sisters are on their damaged house where his mother and mother-in-law were buried during the earthquake at Pangtang Village in Sindhupalchowk, Nepal

Many other families lost their sons and fathers, mothers and daughters in the remote village of Pangtang of Sindhupalchowk district in this disastrous earthquake, where support from the government has not yet reached with enough relief operations.

Such is the destiny of a poor village of Nepal.

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