Nepal quake’s oldest survivor tells of his ordeal

Fulche Tamang, a resident of Nuwakot district, says the April 25 earthquake was far worse than the one of 1934.

At 101 years of age, Fulche Tamang has survived two of Nepal’s most devastating earthquakes.

A week after a powerful quake ravaged the Himalayan nation, Tamang, who was stranded with members of his family in his village in the central Nepali district of Nuwakot, was removed by helicopter and taken to a clinic.

Tamang was sitting at home when the quake struck.

“Suddenly there was a loud crashing noise and everything started to fall over,” he said.

“Then my house also fell over. The walls around me collapsed, the ceiling came down too. Some of it fell on my chest as well.”

This earthquake was far worse than the one of 1934, he told Al Jazeera while perched on a metal hospital bed at the outdoor clinic in the town of Trishuli.

“My arm and leg were trapped under the rubble. My daughter-in-law came and pulled me out,” said Tamang, who sustained only minor injuries.

For someone who is the oldest known survivor to have been pulled from the rubble since April 25, Tamang appears sprightly.

Like many of the patients at the outdoor emergency clinic, operated by staff from the damaged Trishuli hospital located across the road and international volunteers, he sported a white T-shirt with the faces of the king and queen of Bhutan – a gift from the Bhutanese medical camp where he was initially treated.

Tamang was annoyed by the media attention that he received since arriving at the medical post.

“I don’t think it would have mattered if I lived or died,” he said matter-of-factly. “I’ve lived a full life.”

Seven people in his village died in the April 25 quake.

With the closest hospital 28km away, Tamang and his family waited until help came.

“I was sitting comfortably [for the last week]. I had food; my daughter-in-law would bring it to me,” he said, before tucking into a meal his relative had brought to him at the clinic.

Source: Al Jazeera



Interactive outlines the size of area and population that would potentially be affected by any future Nepal earthquakes.

Published On 29 Apr 2015
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