I wrote this post the day after the first quake. I am in my lawn as I write this and there is still a lot of fear among us for there are still recurring tremors we feel. 26th April 2015 10:00 am
On the 25th of April 2015, our tiny but beautiful nation was struck with several rounds of earthquakes starting with 7.9 magnitudes at 11:56 am. It is hard to believe that an earthquake as dangerous and as unpredictable as this one is still continuing even as I type right now. For all the radio shows I have listened to so far, I have gathered quite shocking, slightly hopeful but still very painful news from around the country: The epicentre of the first earthquake was at Gorkha district of Nepal. There have been over sixty after-quakes since the first outbreak, ranging from 2-6 magnitude (no specific patterns or anything, just random quakes). The latest quake took place at around 9:30-ish, which was half an hour ago and with a scale of approximately 3-4 magnitude (my estimation). More than 1800 people have lost their lives around the nation. According to seismologists, the epicentre is shifting its location from Gorkha to Solukhumbu to Nuwakot and other districts as well. Many of our historical monuments have been destroyed, including the Dharahara tower and the Basantapur and Patan Durbar Square built during the Malla dynasty. All civilians have been staying under tents and pitched sheds outside their homes and in open spaces including the only stadium and football grounds as well as the Narayanhiti Palace Museum. Electric lines have been cut since the first earthquake. Help from national organizations, the army, and police, the Red Cross are recruiting people and clearing away damaged sites. Other equipment such as medicines, food and investigation dogs (I don’t really know what they’re really called) from Indian army force are entering the international airport for aid. There are neither bulldozers nor any machinery at work till now. However, the government for aid and for recruitments purposes has granted certain amount of money. Schools and other institutes will be closed for a week, at the least. Phone calls and text messages are announced free of charge for certain periods, including a 3-day free of charge phone calls to India. The weather is partially cloudy where I live. Temperature could be approximately 25 degrees Celsius. In my opinion, our country, which is economically unstable and pretty fragile in terms of national recruitment systems and general welfare of citizens, has tolerated an immense amount of damage from this experience. I should say that I do feel pretty scared not only in terms of the earthquake itself but also for the economy, the damages and lives lost. But at times like this, we can’t really blame anyone. From my experience, I could have been trapped in any of the nook and crannies of the city. That day, I was at home with my mom and we heard/felt/saw this terrible heart-wrenching jolt (vertical movement) of the ground beneath us and the rest, well, it really terrifies me at the thought of it, but all I can say is that there was a lot of confusion, commotion, and fear. However, I do also believe that we are strong people and I guess there has been a lot of communication going in and around different communities, which pretty much sums up that we are in fact, in this together. My personal experience The day of the onset of the quake was very surreal because it was very unexpected despite having doubts about the weather (chilly in April??). The earthquake went on and on and on for like 10 minutes until we could finally fathom how big of the disaster is/was. Entering the house was even terrible, considering the fact that there were broken glasses on the floor, books toppled on top of another, broken statues, bowl on the floor and one very sad moment – the broken pickle jar (that I hadn’t had yet) laying on the kitchen tiles. It took a lot of strength to enter the house. We were definitely expecting another jolt because even after the end of the first quake, it still felt like the whole world around us was on a fragile boat in the setting of the stormy island scene of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. So after that, we decided to follow our instincts and take shelter in the best and safest place possible: our front yard. A lot of quakes followed the first one. There were at least 10 within an hour, which to me is hella lot crazy. To sum up the experience of the day, we had to stay strong and bear the disaster despite having no confirmation of what was going to happen to any one of us. No Wi-Fi and no electricity are very devastating, but what was even more devastating was the fact that a lot of people lost their lives. The only media we could take information from was the radio, which also did not really get our hopes up when they announced that a lot of temples, which are very important to us, had been affected and/or destroyed. For the rest of the day, we literally lived in the front yard with some quickly grabbed food, clothes, and water. The earthquake was so frequent that it almost got to the point where we didn’t even care the small quakes anymore. At night, we stayed inside the car and not inside tents because the temperature started to drop and mosquitoes were not really preferable at the moment. It got difficult to sleep. We experienced two small quakes at night and we woke up the next day at 5 in the morning, sleep deprived (two or three hours of sleep). It was so weird because our house was right there but we were so malfunctioned. Through the course of the morning, we entered the house and freshened up and cleaned up as much as we could. 05:47 pm It’s passed five in the afternoon and we are still under uncertainty as the sky has turned dark grey, which calls for heavy rainfall. The latest earthquake went by at half past two-ish with a magnitude of 6.9. We haven’t experienced another quake as of yet and people around our neighbourhood have started pitching tents and taking shelter with gas tanks and stoves outside their refuge space.