'What time is the next earthquake?'

Tent cities spring up across Kathmandu, as locals battle the elements, fearing another quake is around the corner.

by
    Relief may have reached Kathmandu, but much of it is still stuck at the airport [Reuters]
    Relief may have reached Kathmandu, but much of it is still stuck at the airport [Reuters]

    It is my fourth day here in Kathmandu.

    "What time is the next earthquake," is a question I'm often asked. "I heard 10am tomorrow."

    Explaining the science of the general unpredictability brings some comfort to those here, but there's still an expectation that another quake will come, no matter how shady the source may be.

    Kathmandu is now a collection of small tent cities dotting its open areas. These cities are for the luckier ones - many are just sleeping out in the open.

    Anyone wanting to know when relief supplies will reach the disaster's epicentre just has to look around and witness the lack of relief in Nepal's capital itself.

    Those living in makeshift tent cities have been subjected to aftershocks, rain and cold nights [AP]

    Since Saturday, many people have fled their homes, some staying in hotels if they can afford to, but many more living among the elements.

    They have been subjected to aftershocks, rain, and cold nights.

    Durbar Square, an historic area of the city and UNESCO world heritage site, has its own tent city enclave. Recently a few large tents have been erected there so people wouldn't be sleeping out in the open.

    But besides a small amount of food and water, "relief" is still something people are waiting for.

    Relief may have reached Kathmandu, but much of it is still stuck at the airport.

    The city's infamous single runway can't handle all the planes, or even all the sizes of aircraft trying to bring in vital supplies.

    Small tent cities have sprung up among damaged buildings in Kathmandu, with locals fearing another earthquake [Getty Images]

    Search and rescue teams are one thing, but aid is another. Seeing video and pictures of hard-hatted rescuers combing through rubble doesn't mean those living in a tent or out in the open have received the aid they needed.

    When I look upon the tents and people sleeping, sitting, living out in the open, I shake my head. Despite all of the international attention, these people have so far received so little help.

    Then I think of the people in the towns and villages near the epicentre, cut off from all access and communication, and my stomach sinks.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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