Sitting through the aftershocks

By Sunjuli Kunwar World Vision Nepal Emergency Communicator

People of Nepal sit outside at night as more tremors from the devastating earthquake continue to hit. At the moment, it’s 8pm and it looks like it’s going to rain. It’s dark; all the lights are off due to the lack of electricity, and I’m sitting outside with my family and my neighbours in an open space near our houses. My son is very scared. He does not leave me and lies on my lap.

Around us, I can see a lot of houses with walls completely destroyed. There’s a large apartment building near my house and you can see the cracks going up the walls. I’ve been told that everyone has left the building and have had to find shelter elsewhere.

My family and I won’t go inside our home because the aftershocks are still coming, the last one being just 15 minutes ago. Everyone here is in fear, sitting in the dark. We had always heard that there would be a big earthquake in Kathmandu and we’re unsure if this is the one they talked about, or if there’s another one coming.

When it hit, I was in a football ground watching a match, when suddenly the shade started to sway - left to right, left to right, and everyone shouted that we should run. After that, there was a small stampede and lots of people hurt themselves as they tried to escape. I kept calling my husband and my son who were at home but I couldn’t get through, so I rushed home on my scooter. Even then, I had to stop in the middle of the road twice because of two tremors.

I recently talked to a colleague near Lamjung. They have been warning everyone at the markets that there will be more tremors and that they should leave. Many people there are spending the night on farmland - away from any buildings.

Before the earthquake, World Vision ran awareness programmes with children to teach them what to do in emergencies. We also strengthened schools and health posts to make them more resilient to earthquakes, and worked on disaster management.

Sitting here, tonight, I’m still so frightened. This is the biggest earthquake we’ve ever felt. For me, it’s the first time I’ve felt an earthquake like this, and with so many following tremors. Even my son won’t go inside. I’m sure it must be the same situation for other parents and their children around Nepal.

We just ate outside in the dark and are planning to stay here for as long as possible. It’s really cold tonight so I don’t know how long we’ll be able to sit outside, but due to aftershocks, we’re too frightened to go home. We just have to wait and see how it goes.

Please do pray for us.

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