The shake was like nothing I have experienced in my 57 years. It was strong and it shook for a long time. Many old monuments, including famous temples and stupas have come down. Many people fear Kathmandu will have very a high death rate. Fortunately, today is Saturday so schools were off and the quake came in the daytime.
When I went out in the evening, I saw many people preparing to camp out in the main open parade ground in the middle of the street. Relatives were crying in the main government hospital where the dead were being lined up in front of the hospital building.
People fear that other buildings will collapse. Many of the buildings and monuments here are made of mortar mixed with mud. This material is used a lot in mountain villages so we fear houses outside Kathmandu have come down.
My family is traumatised. We are 5 generations living under one roof – from a 100-year-old grandmother to my 16-month-old granddaughter. Strong aftershocks that are keeping most of us up!
Near the city I saw an open van rushing towards the hospital. At the back of it, rolling with the twists and bumps of the road was the body of what must have been a very young girl. Face down all covered in dust. Black jeans covered with dust. Hair tangled with dust. That made me realize the enormity of the impact to everyone’s lives here. I feel pain for all the families here. Lives snuffed out in a minute.
Rupa Joshi is a communication officer with UNICEF in Nepal
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