In The News (12)
Dozens killed as another major quake hits Nepal weeks after deadly tragedy
An unnatural disaster
Politicians in parliament fled from their seats. In remote villages, houses that were already wobbling collapsed for good this time. Mountains cracked and slid. ..... In Washington, officials said a U.S. Marine helicopter went missing Tuesday during a mission to provide assistance after the latest quake ..... Nepali police appealed on Twitter for residents to stay outside in the open, but off the roads and off their telephones. ...... Overwhelmed hospitals would be again treating patients outside in tents for fear of aftershocks, even critically ill patients. ...... At Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, Baburam Tamang, 40, a day laborer, writhed on the floor, crying. Both his legs were badly fractured. He had been working to repair a roof on a house in Bhaktapur, the damaged temple town not far from Kathmandu, when the quake hit, trapping him under wood and bricks. “Suddenly the quake came and I fell down from the second floor,” he said. “I thought . . . I may die there.” ....... “My future is gone,” Tamang said, weeping. “ I may not be able to work again.” ..... Now the most wide-ranging relief effort in the country’s history has been stopped in its tracks. ..... The country’s military rescue operations will run parallel with relief operations, according to Khagaraj Adhikari, Nepal’s minister of health and population. Many foreign rescue teams had already left the country, he said, but the Nepali government would ask those remaining to stay until the new crisis has passed. ...... Jennifer Hardy, 33, a worker for Catholic Relief Services based in Baltimore, said she was helping hand out tarpaulins and hygiene kits in a remote village in the hard-hit Ghorka area when the quake hit just after lunchtime. “People started immediately crying, even though we were in a big open area,” she said. She clutched an elderly grandmother for support. Around them, the leaves of mango trees began to fall like snow.............. Things worsened when the villagers began to hear the rumbling and collapsing of nearby buildings, then could not reach family members on jammed phone lines, Hardy said. “That was almost more stressful than the earthquake itself. It was heartbreaking to see them so distressed. They kept crying and crying for hours” ......... In Tuesday’s chaos, many aid workers were feared trapped. Nichola Jones, a spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Nepal, said a Canadian medical team was trapped in the Tatopani area, close to the quake’s epicenter. Team members reported that a nearby mountain had dissolved into a rocky landslide, leaving them miraculously alive and covered in dust, but essentially stranded. .. The rainy season is fast approaching, and landslides will be constant concern. ....... The reverberations were felt hundreds of miles away in New Delhi, Bangladesh and Tibet.I survived another nerve-rattling Nepal quake
For about a week, Kathmandu had tried hard to seem normal. Shops and many restaurants reopened and everyone went back to work. City traffic was picking up and people were trying hard to go back to their old routine. Yes, there have been scores of aftershocks. Morning greetings usually started with, "Did you feel that big one?" ....... I wanted to join them but John grabbed my hand. We stood there, holding onto each other, legs splayed for better balance against the slow rolling sway that ebbed and flowed. It seemed to come to an end but then started again. John pulled me back and reminded me that the staircase led to a narrow alleyway with high walls on both sides. So we stayed and hugged. ...... Like April 25, when a more powerful 7.8-magnitude quake hit, this one seemed to go on and on. In fact, it lasted about 25 seconds. ..... This is a city and nation on edge. Like everyone else, my heart was pounding, my mind racing as I tried to figure out what I should do next. I left my husband at his office and drove, or rather inched along in a traffic jam trying to get out of downtown. ......... Phone lines also were jammed, so my calls weren't going through, nor was I able to access Facebook, which had helped so many of us connect after the last quake. I switched to Twitter, through which I tracked down friends and relatives. ...... Many Nepalis in hard-hit areas who had returned to their homes or to open their shops near damaged buildings died on Tuesday. ....... It has been raining every night now. Hard pounding rain. Hours of thunder and lightning. The rains mean many more landslides throughout eastern Nepal ........ If there is a light at the end of this tunnel, it is by coincidence.Another Deadly Earthquake Spreads Fear and Misery in Nepal
Nepal's government on Monday asked all foreign military providing relief to leave in the next few weeks. Luckily, they are still here: Indians with helicopters and the U.S. Marines with four Osprey helicopters to bring in aid where roads have disappeared.
Tuesday's magnitude-7.3 quake, centered midway between Kathmandu and Mount Everest, struck hardest in the foothills of the Himalayas, triggering some landslides, but it also shook the capital badly, sending thousands of terrified people into the streets. ...... Nepal's Parliament was in session when the quake hit, and frightened lawmakers ran for the exits as the building shook and the lights flickered out. ..... Tuesday's temblor was deeper, however, coming from a depth of 18.5 kilometers (11.5 miles) versus the earlier one at 15 kilometers (9.3 miles). Shallow earthquakes tend to cause more damage. ....... Tuesday's quake was followed closely by at least 10 strong aftershocks ..... the earlier quake caused extensive structural damage even in buildings that did not topple, and that many could be in danger of collapse. ...... "Everyone was saying the earthquakes are over. ... Now I don't want to believe anyone" ....... "We are all scared, we are terrified. I would rather deal with mosquitoes and the rain than sleep in the house." ..... saw a man in Kathmandu who had apparently run from the shower with shampoo covering his head. "He was sitting on the ground, crying"Magnitude 7.4 quake strikes in Nepal: USGS
An unnatural disaster
Even those of us who have known natural disasters—the yearly floods and landslides, for instance—as things that only happen to other people, even the most sheltered among us, are reeling from the shock. In some ways, we are living through a collective, all-encompassing tragedy. ...... I, for instance, am among those who did not suffer even a fraction of the damage others did in and outside Kathmandu. None of my friends lost their loved ones or got seriously injured. The quake knocked down the boundary walls that guarded our homes and gardens. Some of our walls have cracks and our water tanks broke. But our houses did not collapse and bury us. The disaster did not strip us of our livelihoods or make us homeless. We will resume our normal lives once we repair the damages or move house. Some of us already have. Hearteningly, many of us have taken on the necessary but not unprivileged role of fundraisers, volunteers, relief providers, and interpreters of other people’s suffering. ....... Hira Maharjan, who drives my friend’s family car, fled from his crumbling house with nothing but the clothes on his back; his belongings remain buried in rubble in a wrecked locality in Thaiba. His neighbour, a daily wageworker, committed suicide two days after his tiny house fell apart. Laxmi Tamang, our household help, lost her friends and fellow Christians, all migrants from east Nepal, when the building that housed a church in Sukedhara collapsed, killing 26 people. ........ In Badegaun VDC of Sindhupalchowk district, all the houses made of mud and stones have been reduced to rubble, killing 160 people. Many villagers speak of their tragedy in a disquietingly matter-of-fact tone. Shyamsaran Gautam recounts the death of his child and the death of his buffalo in the same breath; one of his children is gone but the buffalo might have helped him feed the remaining ones. Bharat Nepali, who recently pulled his daughter’s body from the debris of his house, eagerly asks me to note down the deceased’s name—in the hope that the government authorities in Kathmandu might read my report and provide him compensation. Bimala Katwal, a young mother of six huddles under a tin roof retrieved from a neighbour’s broken home. Her husband, a migrant worker, was killed in India a few years ago. “I wish he hadn’t died,” she says wearily. “I wonder who killed him and why.” ........ In the next village I pass through, a teenage girl has lost her youngest sibling. She mechanically describes how her sister was killed despite hiding under a bed, and then asks with a tentative smile, “Would you know when the government is sending us relief?” ..... they are so oppressed by questions of immediate survival that brooding over their loss is a luxury they can barely afford. Or it is a sign of resilience.भूकम्पको प्रभाव चीनदेखि बंगलादेशसम्म, भारतमा १० जनाको निधन
An enormous gulf separates us and I cannot fully grasp their condition......... “Things weren’t very different for us before the earthquake,” says Binda BK, a young mother in a Dalit settlement in Kalyanpur-5, Nuwakot. .. Like every other family in the settlement, they are burdened with high-interest loans taken from high-caste moneylenders. ....... When a few bags of rations are left over after distribution, they ask us to give them to Dalit families: “Let them have it, they have nothing.” ........ there is no such thing as a ‘natural’ disaster. The earthquake devastated their homes because they could not afford strong houses. They have nothing left now because they never had much to begin with. The disaster has ruined their livelihoods and threatened their survival because they were already living in extremely precarious conditions. It is not the earthquake, but enforced poverty and systematic exclusion that has crushed these people. Those of us who escaped unscathed are complicit in their suffering one way or the other. It is admirable that many of us are tirelessly working to bring relief to those hardest hit by the earthquake. But that should not allow us to thump our chests and rail against anyone who reminds us of the deeper causes of this tragedy. ........... more than 8,000 people, most of them marginalised, have paid with their lives to remind us again: the longer lasting disaster Nepalis suffer from is the exclusionary nature of the Nepali state. Their acute vulnerability is a result of the entrenched inequalities of class, caste, and region that have benefited a small section of our society. Rebuilding Nepal does not mean rebuilding the feudal state ......
Local elites opposed to any structural change, and outsiders gearing up to start a disaster industryin Kathmandu, should heed the wake-up call.