Stories from earthquake survivors in rural Nepal
8 May 2015 | Blog | Nepal | Emergency Relief
A fortnight since the earthquake devastated Nepal, we share some stories from brave survivors we’ve encountered in our emergency response work.
In Marchugaun, almost nobody can sleep. Lying a mere 30 kilometres from the epicenter of the earthquake, this small village of just 120 people is now all but destroyed.
About 75 percent of the houses in Marchugaun have collapsed. Those still intact, on closer inspection have cracks in the walls.
“It’s impossible to fall asleep in buildings like this,” said Issor, a local farmer. “You worry that the house might collapse at any moment and you will be buried in the debris,” he said.
Every night nearly all the women, children and men in Marchugaun are packed like sardines into only three tents. “Many of us sleep in turns in order to create more space under the tarpaulins,” Issor said.
Tham and his family are among the survivors left homeless in Marchuguan after the quake. As soon as they escaped their home, the house collapsed along with most of the buildings in Marchugaun.
“At least we survived” says Tham. “When the earthquake struck I thought that this would be the end. What we urgently need, is a tarpaulin of our own. I tell you: having my own tarpaulin meanwhile appears as some kind of luxury to me.”
Just one day later, Caritas began distributing tarpaulins for thousands of villagers near the epicentre in Gordkha and Sindhupalanchowk and other periphery districts such as Nuwakot, Lamjung, Rasuwa, Dhadhing and Okheldhuga.
Most of the villagers who have come to collect a tarpaulin are women. Many of the men from the village are working in the city or abroad. Receiving a tarpaulin, Tilaka Adhikari, 42 said, “It feels like God has come to help us. Thanks Caritas”.
In Panchkhal village in Karve, 80 houses have been damaged, of which 20 are completely destroyed in what was the largest earthquake to hit Nepal in over 80 years.
Wood and stone fell over 75 year old Buddhiman Danuwar in his home. He could not escape, but fortunately a search and rescue team from a nearby camp saved his life.
Another survivor from Panchkhal is 26-year-old Surmala Cholagai. She was with her 4-year-old son and her father-in-law when the earthquake struck and the roof of their house collapsed. Trapped in the rubble, they waited until the neighbours came to rescue them.
For two weeks, Surmala and her son have spent the nights sleeping under a flimsy plastic sheet.They have now received a tarpaulin provided by Caritas. She says the aid is ‘God sent’ and hopes there will be one for everyone without a home to return to.
With your support, Caritas Nepal is working rapidly through its strong local connections and partnerships to ensure families have protection from the rain and cold temperatures, especially before the monsoon rains begin in June.
The international Caritas Network has provided over 31,000 people with temporary shelter kits and distributed food to more than 2,000 families. Over the next two months, your generosity will help us reach more than 175,000 people, and begin teh long-term work of rebuilding with the people of Nepal.
For more on our response in Nepal and to donate, click here.
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