Today’s guest post was written by Sam Rogers who, whilst travelling in Nepal recently, experienced the devastating earthquake first-hand. Sam sat down to write this harrowing account of his experience only six days after the initial quake.
A First-Hand Account of the Nepal Earthquake
The last 6 days have been an absolutely whirlwind. I’m in a third world country sitting comfortably among the mighty Himalayas with friends that have become family and a guest house that feels like home.
Welcome to Nepal.
On Saturday the 25th of April an unpredictable, yet terrible earthquake shook the entire country right to its core creating unimaginable amounts of death and catastrophic destruction. Thousands have died, even more injured and the near future is, at this stage, looking incredibly bleak.
Let me take you to that day.
We were sitting in a cafe called Himalayan Java, which is nestled on the second floor of a building no older than 2 years. I remember taking a sip of my coffee, as the initial quake occurred - a little startled, yet not so worried that I didn’t take a moment to appreciate the brew.
As the rumbling went on - we looked up as those around us did the same and became paralyzed by the increasing fervor of the shocks. We stood up. Chairs scrapped on the floor, coffee cups on saucers rattling and people silent. For an eternity we stood there. Until the silence surrounding the rumbling was broken by an older man bellowing three times:
GET OUT, GET OUT, GET OUT.
By this stage, the building was shaking so horribly that it was hard to keep balance as we scrambled for the doorway. A number of chairs were knocked over in our haste to beat what seemed like the inevitable demise of the structure we were so helplessly in. I remember hearing the sound of cups smashing on the floor and fresh bags of coffee beans dropping from the shelves one at a time from where they had been lined up so carefully before.
Light fixtures were rattling out of place as the lights themselves threatened to shake free from the roof. People were screaming. One man stood confidently in the doorway directing people down; loudly, but also gently telling us not to run.
The stairs went down, at this stage brimming with frightened faces - everyone anxious to break free. I remember glancing left at the wall, huge cracks already forming 2-3 meters long, exposing brickwork beneath. How long did we have before this beautiful, white roman-styled building came tumbling down?
All this time the ground seemed to be rolling underneath us ominously, about to open up at any moment.
With the rest of the population following suit, we made it to the main street - thousands finding safety in the open. For another lifetime we stood there, white-faced and more frightened than ever before, waiting for the ground to stop its movement. It was as if two incredible forces were playing a game of tug of war beneath us. Would it ever cease?
Finally it did. As we shakily looked around us and saw the same relieved faces staring back - we thought it was over.
However, as we were to learn in the coming days, for the people of this breathtakingly beautiful country it was far, far from over. Hundreds of aftershocks would occur in the next few days and it will take generations to rebuild.
Thankfully, we are in Pokhara - which, although being relatively close to the epicenter - luckily escaped major damage due to the geographical lay of the land.
I now sit writing this 6 days later. The pain I have felt for the Nepali people is strong and likewise for travellers caught up in this natural phenomenon that took so many lives.
In light of the situation however, I applaud the kindness and generosity I have seen, from all corners of the world. I have watched people give their time, risk their safety and hand out money to those more needy.
It’s times like these we are all reminded of the fragility of life, and how quickly it can be taken away. If lessons such as these must be given and if people have to go through this unimaginable pain, it goes to prove that we truly should make it worth it.
Have you ever experienced a natural disaster or tragedy on your travels? Share your experience in the comments below.