It has now been one week since the colossal 7.8-magnitude earthquake that rocked Nepal and the surrounding region.
As the damage is assessed and the death toll soars, it seems likely to surpass Nepal’s 1934 earthquake to become the most devastating quake in Nepali history.
While it fades from the headlines, in Nepal the story continues, as it will for years to come.
Thousands have abandoned the shattered capital city, Kathmandu, which has received the lion’s share of international attention.
Many of those most severely affected, however, were those who could least afford it, already living in poverty in remote villages.
In one village, near the quake’s epicentre, less than ten of 1,200 homes are said to remain standing.
Due to landslides across forbidding terrain, many areas remain inaccessible by road.
Those who have survived now face shortages of food, water and shelter. There is the threat of disease from uncremated bodies, and from ruptured sewerage lines.
Millions have been affected, and Nepal – one of Asia’s poorest countries – now faces billions of dollars in reconstruction costs.
All of this can be found in the news. It is tragedy on an overwhelming scale – but it is a human tragedy.
I’d like to share fragments of messages received this week from some of my local and foreign friends in Nepal, to give you a more personal insight into this catastrophe.
From some of my local friends who were in Kathmandu at the time of the earthquake:
here more than 10000 people injure and 4000 people dead. I LOST My sister and brother in law too. Its not only me or we injured but lots of people injured,hurts,homeless. who dead are dead but who are alive are surviving for food,water,hut,even they dont have tent too, Government is providing tent at city area in few places but we are still not getting any help. My house broke down and we are living in ground,now what we will do next? … just its hard to pick up cause everything broke down our house,shop everything… god is with us that we are alive, imagine my brother in law and sister is no more. and its even nothing in one family they lost more then 8 members
im ok but mentally littel afried because i fell that earthquak so… In ktm there is very denger to stay not only earthquak because of smell of deadbody and water poluation… So all the peoples are going back ther home from ktm. Very difficult to stay in ktm for all the people… All the old heritage are finished ben. Its very bad luck for all nepali… All people are mentally disturb who is alive
From other friends, who have now returned to the village where I once lived:
there is about 30 houses collapsed and all others are cracked… government is just rescuing in kathmandu right and actually other parts are also get affected so much
here no problem with the food nd water but in ktm nd other distric there is a big problem with it…coz there are so many shopes nd hotels are closes for 1 week and ktm peoples return to thier homes village for survive them selves from the deaseas of ktm and other distric… Its terrifying situatuion we have never ever seen before… It divasting our heritage of ktm. And old temples dharohara tower and many houses and it has lost of big damages in ktm many peoples died there
From the English friend I mentioned in my last post, who is flying home today:
im safe thanks. Its crazy and hard but i can do this. Such a surreal monent. Pretty much suppressing all my emotions as right now i cant acknowledge. I need my strength. My dad has booked me on a flight for sat. Im torn. I wanted to stay and help but i know it makes sense to get trained, accept my journey in all this and come back stronger.
From other foreign friends caught in other areas of the country:
We’re OK…a little bit shaky but we’re in Pokhara where there was no sever damage
i was close to langtang valley… but was safe in a refugee-camp… the italien army evacuated me back home. i was very lucky – but so sad for nepal
I can’t even imagine the horror of losing eight family members in a single day, of seeing my home fall to pieces, of watching my neighbourhood crumble around me.
The Nepali earthquake has been a very sobering reminder of the fragile and transient bond we all share as living creatures on this planet, and how quickly and capriciously that bond can be broken.