Friday, May 15, 2015

My Experience of Devastating Earthquake

It was on 25th April 2015. I had to buy some school uniform requirements for my Son. The school was expected to start from May 27th. I was in Mangal Bazar (Patan Durbar Square, Lalitpur) with my wife, 7 years son, and 2 and a half years daughter. We bought white and black shoes and other items in Magal Bazar. We were walking towards Lagankhel from Mangal Bazar. This path has very old houses constructed from bricks and mud. At about 11:55 AM suddenly the ground started to shake. We quickly ran near the open space over there which was the center of a crossroad. The intensity of the shake grew up. I saw a man who was in his motorcycle was hit by the falling bricks. The motorcycle fell down in the road and the man woke up and ran from there. I think because of the helmet he was wearing he was lucky and he survived. He may have injuries in his body. During that time, I saw very old buildings moving like a swing. The house just in front of us was moving here and there and I thought it would fall and the debris come near us but except some cracks, nothing happened to that house. I also saw, dust coming from one side. I turned my head and found rubble coming in the road from a falling house. I couldn’t see the falling house because it was hidden by another house.

The intensity of the earthquake was so large that I could not balance myself. My son was crying and my wife was praying by saying "God save us". But my innocent daughter was amazed by all the things going on at that time. Peoples were screaming. Some are telling others to be safe. Some females were crying. I also saw a woman with a small child on her lap. Initially, the tremor was small but I felt increasing very intensity then again it slowed down and again increased heavily. I felt the increasing and slowing of the tremor for three times. As it slowed down for the final time I felt I was in a boat moving side by side. The earthquake remained for about a minute. After the quack stopped I tried to call my brother-in-law who was at home when we were out. The network was not working. I tried to call some more persons but none of the numbers was working. At that same time, I got a call from my elder brother-in-law from Pokhara. I told him that we are ok but could not contact his brother (my younger brother-in-law).

After the quake stopped I was planning to go to my home in Nakhipot very quickly. I was thinking about what had happened to my house. I had built the house will all my earnings and selling my parental properties. I am still paying my loans for that house. Then we walked towards Lagankhel where I had parked my motorcycle. When we were about to reach Langnkhel we again felt another tremor of high intensity. This time we were at least in the middle of the road and houses are little far apart. We stayed there in the middle of the road for a moment. This time the shaking was not as big as it was than that of the first time but was strong. Then I started my motorcycle and we moved towards our house. On the road we saw many fallen down compound walls. Because I was hurried to reach my house quickly I did not notice more things on the road.

When we reached Milan chowk, a place which is very near to my house, I noticed that my motorcycle was losing balance. Then I stepped my left leg and stopped my motorcycle. I asked my wife and children to get off from the motorcycle. We waited there until the tremor stopped. After the quack stopped we moved quickly from there. When we reached our house then my friend/neighbor Sharad and his family were staying in an open place near our house. I stopped my motorcycle and stayed there with him. Just after I stopped my motorcycle and stayed there a big quack again started. The land started shaking and we heard some unusual sound. The land was shaking like a boat in the water. We stayed there for some time but the land was moving again and again because of many aftershocks. During that time I tried to call different persons but could not succeed. At first, I called my Mother in my village, near Pokhara but could not connect. I called my sister's landline number and knew that they were safe in Pokhara. Later my mother called from a CDMA number from my cushions house. There was no problem in my old house build by my father and no casualty in my family and relatives.

After an hour of staying there, I went to a point near my house, from where we can see Bhainsepati. It is a new housing area with many new houses. But it is also a place with many old houses made of brick and mud. I saw two houses converted to rubble. People were trying to remove the debris from those houses. Later I heard that two men died in that Incident. Even after that disaster, some radios were still on the operation. On the radio, we heard that Dharara had fallen down but the casualty was not known at that time. After that, we observed that the aftershocks of the earthquake were not occurring for a long time. Then I thought to observe my house. I entered my house and observed every corner of the house if any cracks were there. I did not find any cracks but some items were fallen on the ground. Later, found that the concrete of my parking area inside the gate was little gone down and little crack in the place where this area was connected to the building. I was relieved and thanked God my shelters were safe.

Many aftershocks came that day so my wife and children didn’t want to sleep in our house that day. We slept in a nearby hut constructed by GI sheets. That day we felt a lot of shocks in the night. Many news came on the radio giving the number of casualties. The electricity lines had stopped providing the electricity but Nepal telecom’s telephone was working even though we had to dial for a lot of time. My world link’s Internet connection was working even after the earthquake. Saw a lot of devastating photos in online media and social media. Listening to the news of the devastating quake and looking at pictures of fallen houses and dying people I could not hold my mind. The death toll reached more than 8000 lives and 200 thousand houses were damaged. Many old monuments, temples, palaces of kings, historical monuments were turned to dust. Because of the RCC structure, many residential buildings in town were not damaged except few cracks but in the villages, there was nothing in the affected zone. But the house constructed with bricks and mud were turned down to rubbles. It was a great loss for Nepali people and the reconstruction will take a huge amount of money and time.

The next day we were staying in the same hut in the day time. At about 12:55 pm suddenly a very big earthquake shook the ground. We were so frightened. The house in front of us was shaking in a to and fro motion. After that day may aftershocks occurred. On 12th may at about 12:50 pm the earth was shivering again. I was in my office and suddenly my chair started to shake. Then I with some other persons who were in my office moved to the open space before my office building. After that big aftershock, many other smaller shocks were shacking the ground again and again.