#NepalQuake shook Nepal but not the Nepalis


May 1st, 2015

I still can’t imagine it was an earthquake. The futsal match between Practical Action and Handicap International was running at full throttle and 1-1 was the result. My three and half years old daughter was cheering for Practical Action together with my colleague Sachin’s daughter. Suddenly people started running away from the futsal ground. I thought a fight had ensued. But then I could hear sound of something collapsing. There was a huge roar. The spectators were running for safety. It was an earthquake. And it was big. Very big!

In spite of the hullabaloo, I was aware of the two little girls I had to take care of. Both the innocent girls had no idea what was happening. I took hold of both and ducked for cover. They were terrified to the bones by the stampede. Sachin ran to us frantically from the futsal ground and helped me take both the girls to a safe place.

All assembled were intimidated and trying to call their close relatives but to no avail. The situation was scary. The aftershocks were strong enough to send chills down my spine. My feelings were similar to that of my colleague Prabin’s account.

Pillion-riding back to my place, I could see the devastation though in bits and pieces. The terrorised Kathmanduites were out on the streets. Many walls on the way had collapsed down and many houses had visible cracks.

The following days were horrific – living in tents throughout the day and night with rumours of bigger earthquake to hit the city floating around causing more fear and panic.

After putting up with hundreds of aftershocks and sleepless nights I finally joined office on 28 April. However, I had not well recovered to resume my daily routine. I would once in a while get call from my wife and daughter requesting to get home early.

On my second day to office I made up my mind to visit the demolished sites. As I entered the New Road Gate, the once vibrant street bustling with crowd, was like a street of an abandoned city. Few people passing through the road section were hurrying towards their destinations in order to avoid the falling of buildings upon them.

As I passed through the always crowded street, I rushed through. The buildings seemed tall demons ready to devour me. Reaching the Joshi Complex, my after-office hangout with my friends for stress-buster chats over cups of tea, I was dumbfounded by the silence of the place. None of the shops were open even after four days of the horrific tremor.

When I moved to Basantapur, there was a barricade with “No Entry” sign. So I took a detour via Jhochhen, the Freak Street. As I reached the Basantapur Dabali, my weekend jaunt, I could not stop myself. There was a lump in my throat and I tried hard to stop the tears trickling down. The nine storey palace was nowhere to be seen. Sitting on the Dabali in its front, I would often gaze at the beauty and grandeur of the place. It was all gone within a matter of minutes.

Returning via Dharhara, the pride of Kathmandu built by Nepal’s first Prime Minister Bhimsen Thapa devastated in 1934 AD earthquake, I could just see a short stump.

 

Dharhara, the pride of Kathmandu, has been reduced to a stump.

Dharhara, the pride of Kathmandu, has been reduced to a stump.

Along with durbar squares in Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur – all World Heritage Sites, Dharhara, Kal Mochan and many significant monuments were reduced to mounds of earth. The 7.8 Richter scale earthquake that shook not only the country but also the confidence of Nepalis, has claimed lives of 6,250 and injured 14,357 as of 1 May according to the Ministry of Home Affairs. Around eight million people have been affected with 143,673 houses damaged and another 160,786 destroyed. Gorkha, Sindhupalchok, Nuwakot, Rasuwa, Dhading, Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur, Kavrepalanchok, Dolakha, Ramechhap, and Sindhuli districts have been badly hit by the earthquake.

Can an earthquake be so ruthless? I still can’t imagine it was an earthquake. It was an Armageddon. But our never dying spirit hasn’t subsided. We will soon bounce back.

Journalist Ujjwal Acharya tweeted:

For the relief work, the government has identified shelter, WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene), health and food as the major priorities. Practical Action has rushed to its work areas in Gorkha and Dhading, two of the most affected districts.

Practical Action South Asia Regional Director Achyut Luitel tweeted:

Please join hands with us to help the earthquake victims.

6 responses to “#NepalQuake shook Nepal but not the Nepalis”

  1. Mehrab Ul Goni Says:

    Yes, I do believe that you will bounce back soon. All best wishes to you and to the Nepalese …

  2. Lesley McIntosh Says:

    The Practical Action team in Nepal are amazing. Their sense of compassion for others when facing such challenging circumstances for themselves and their own families is truly humbling.

  3. Chani Mejía Says:

    All our prayers with you. You are not alone in this moment and all the world have their eyes on you to provide help and support. Great work of Practical Action reaching the farest communities. Words written with heart and soul are powerful, please support the efforts of our Nepali office to reach the poorest. We are all Nepal at this moment.

  4. Arun Kumar Hial Says:

    Surely, amazing courage is required to face this sort of devastation.. heads-off to all of you all… All the best for rehab endeavors… I hope and pray, things would resume to normalcy at the earliest…

  5. Gigi Says:

    Nepal and all of you are in our thoughts every day.

  6. Dy Says:

    We are with you in our thoughts and actions all the way! Stay strong…

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