Thursday, April 30, 2015

The great quake

APR 29 - On Saturday, following a massive earthquake, Kathmandu’s landmark, the Dharahara, collapsed.  Until now, about 5,000 people have been killed, many more have been injured, and a lot of historic temples and old buildings have collapsed. Entire families consisting of parents, children and other relatives have been buried under rubble. People living in the affected districts are all in a state of panic. 
In fact, I have no words to explain the horrors of the earthquake. I would like to offer my deepest condolences to all my friends, families, and neighbours who died in the catastrophe--a 7.9 Richter scale earthquake that shook most parts of the country.  According to the US Geological Survey, the earthquake’s epicenter was somewhere 50 miles from the Valley. And any earthquake that is between 7-8 Richter scale is categorised as ‘major’ by scientific experts.    

Video clips of people in the Kathmandu Valley look very chaotic. I talked to my mom who lives in Chitwan, and she told me that she had never experienced such ‘vibration’ and ‘shaking’ of buildings in her entire life. Many individuals came out onto into the streets. Those living in Hetauda and Birgunj also recounted similar tales. A friend reported that he ran for his life with a dozen of other people from his private apartment. Given the state of affairs, it is difficult for people not to feel terrified. Massive damage has caused fear and panic throughout Nepal. The country needs help. It needed prayers.
Electricity supply has not been stable and neither have phone connections been established properly. In the immediate aftermath of the quake, the network was congested as the everyone began calling their family members in panic. The Nepali diaspora, who heard the news in different parts of the world, also got scared to death, and started calling their family back in Nepal. Albeit, it is not the earthquake that causes the trouble, but the archetypes, landmarks, and buildings that inhabitants have built.    
Even so, it is good to see people using social media sites and seeking to help people most-affected by the calamity by bringing people together. Nepalis people Facebook instantly shared the news of the disaster on Facebook, and many others started tweeting actively to inform other people. Google launched ‘earthquake finder’ app, and Facebook has started asking users to ‘mark safe’ after the quake.
The only silver lining of this tragic even is perhaps that from this earthquake is that it has bought communities together. In these trouble times, politics should take a backseat and everyone should rise up to the occasion. Everybody has come together and joined hand-in-hand to support and help victims of this earthquake. 
Posted on: 2015-04-30 09:39
Published: The Kathmandu Post