Nepal quake: When will the misery end?

Remote areas in Himalayan nation waiting for aid week after earthquake, as unseasonal rains prompt fear of landslides.

A woman walks past collapsed houses following an earthquake last week in Khokana in Lalitpur

Arriving in the remote region of Sindhupalchowk at night is an eerie experience.

On the old trade route that winds its way to the Chinese border we – myself, camera operator Maurya Gautam and Producer Ramyata Limbu – drove through more than a dozen settlements, seven villages and a town.

They are all devastated, the silhouettes of the ruins are picked out by our car headlights. Everywhere is deserted.

Closer inspection of one settlement finds scattered shelters away from main buildings down farm tracks. Plastic sheeting and bamboo structures have been used to keep out the lashing rain. Families and their livestock are huddled together yet they invite us to take shelter with them.

It’s an invitation we take up. Within a short time of sharing this dank space alongside these hospitable people the ground shudders with an aftershock and thunderclap sounds break the silence. It isn’t thunder – it’s the crashing of large boulders falling down a mountainside.

Feeling the earth tremor beneath you as you lie on the ground in a sleeping bag is a strange experience. You can absorb the level of fear and neglect the Nepalese people are experiencing.

The rain is unseasonal. This, coupled with the aftershocks means landslides are another threat. As if there wasn’t enough misery already.

In the morning it’s a different picture as we drive through the villages and the town of Chautara. People have come out of their shelters. They are desperate for food and any fabric from which to build temporary shelter.

But aid is woefully lacking in its presence. We see only a few Red Cross tents and some basic medical assistance in Chautara.

Occasionally people approach, mistaking us for aid workers. Everyone has the same plea for help. And most ask the same question: when will this end?

Source: Al Jazeera


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