A Cry for Help for Nepal’s Earthquake Survivors
A massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake rocked Nepal last Saturday, April 25, 2015, turning a bustling city into ruins. We asked our Kathmandu resident staff, Pramod Chaudhari about the extent of damage that the earthquake left to his area, and he explained to us that Kathmandu and the surrounding valley are home to about 2.5 million people, majority of them live in old traditional houses, which may be over a hundred years old. Nepal has a per capita income of about $1,350, which makes it hard for families to meet building codes for home constructions. Taking on expensive retrofitting for older homes and buildings are beyond the means of most people here. Needless to say, many local families live in poorly constructed homes that are not designed to withstand the strong earthquake that rocked the city last Saturday and the aftershocks that came days after.
“It was a cloudy Saturday morning. People were doing their usual activities, enjoying their one-day off from a busy workweek. Children were playing cricket in the nearby field. Young girls and boys visit the Swyambhu Temple and White Gumba. Others are spending time outside under the sun. Even in April, it’s still cold out here. It was around 11:56 A.M at noon when we experienced the first earthquake.”
– Pramod Chaudhari, Red and Black Solutions Web Developer
When the earthquake happened, the locals watched in horror as houses crumbled into rubbles and while many of their world-renowned historical temples and towers collapsed. There was no time to think or react. Many people got trapped beneath the rubbles. Many people got buried under the broken bits of their city’s prized historical landmarks.
Kathmandu’s historic neighbourhoods were among the most damaged parts of the city. The city and its nearby suburbs happen to be the site for many of Nepal’s historical sites, courtyards, palaces and temples, many of which are more than 300 years old. Many of which are protected as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Many of which are now in ruins.
The earthquake also triggered a massive avalanche in Mount Everest, sweeping ice and snow that killed up to 17 people.
As of this writing, strong aftershocks are still periodically experienced in Kathmandu and surrounding areas, causing only more fear and panic among the residents. As they fear being buried alive underneath the rubbles, they opt to sleep huddled under plastic tarps at night. Whenever it rains, water are seeping into the makeshift tents made by residents who decided to stay near the ruins of their home, and the streets often become puddled with water. People with no shelter have no choice but to stay out in the cold. If you have been to Nepal, you know how unforgiving the ‘cold’ here is.
The condition is worse in hospitals. Local hospitals like the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital are overflowing with injured and wounded survivors, many of which are squeezed in between people in regular hospital beds, some are laid out on straw mats, and some have no choice but to curl up on the bare floor. Hospitals are not only running out on space but also on IV fluids. Also, the number of operating rooms in nearby local hospitals is barely keeping up with the overwhelming number of patients with serious spinal and head injuries. Other hospitals have already set-up makeshift tents to accommodate the number of people coming in to get treated. Many of these people got injured and wounded after their stone and concrete homes collapsed on top of them.
The people of Kathmandu and its nearby valley suburbs are crying for help, as they are currently in a very desperate situation. Rescue operations are rather slow, as the local team did not have all the proper equipment and facilities to rescue the locals. There’s very limited power supply in the city, and supply of drinking water is quickly running out. There’s also an issue with the supply of fuel in the city. Although most people are beside themselves in shock, others took the initiative of setting up their own communal kitchens and shelter. People set it up on their own—no clear help from the government yet.
Perhaps the biggest concern now for all residents is a solid shelter where they can sleep in peace and well protected from occasional rains and elements. Also, food and water supply will be a big concern in the coming days. That’s why the Red and Black Solutions team have pooled a sum to send aid to Nepal.
Join me and the Red and Black Solutions team in helping out our brothers and sisters in Nepal. Go to this website and send in your donations. God bless you all!