Hand in Hand We Stand (Photo from Omar Havana
) @ rubble of kasthamandap
It was Saturday morning, as I woke up the morning was not usual, it was not just me but many people felt that it was so gloomy. Dad was planning to go outside with his friend and his daughter on motorbike to harisiddhi for some work. He did mention that morning before leaving home why the weather is not good.
My cousin from Pokhara came to see my mom, they were talking in the kitchen and I was busy making plan with my friend in chat. We had planned to meet at basantapur around 1 p,m. for photography and after that I had plan to go Hrisiddhi to go for Newari food with my other friends. Around 11:30 a.m. I had taken my lunch and went downstairs to my office as I had a small meeting with my staff. By then my cousin had left and I was talking to my staff. All of the sudden, the water jar in my office fell down and before we could figure out what happen one of my staff stood and try to pick up that jar but the force of the earthquake just made us unstable. He stood by the door, while others went under the table and I was on my chair not able to move.
I saw my old house in front of my office, felt it will fall down any time and i began shouting calling my mom who was on the 4th floor of the house. My mind was just telling me that my old house will collapse any time. After the first shake, I saw my mom coming down with her finger bleeding. By then My photographer Friend Rukesh Shrestha came to me asking me to get camera bag and go for photoshoot. I wanted to go but I asked him to wait so that I can get handiplast for my mom. He was in such a hurry that he did not wait me. While I went to shop to buy handiplast, till then I was not aware of big damage, I did see chaos on people’s face but didn’t see any damages around.
There was one house with its roof down near my house, however, beside that I had not imagine anything worse. When I returned home, people who had gather near my house started getting news about Darahara and Basantapur. I was speechless. I thought I needed to capture these moments for our future.
My camera bag was still in my room third floor. Before I could reach the third floor there was another tremor, then followed by another. It took me an hour for me to get courage to get in my room and get the camera. After getting camera, I wanted to call my friend and his brother who are from Kilagal. One of them used to get regular training on disaster management, I was not able to contact any of them. Later the following day I came to know that the elder brother was trapped in one building and was rescued after 12 hours. However he passed away after three days.
As I walked through the bagmati bridge, I search for kalmochan temple over the skyline. I could not find it and when I reached in front of the landmark Bluebird building there was no sign of Kalmochan temple. Next I saw the new CTC mall, which was there with damage easily visible. And when I reach Sahidgate, there wasn’t the famous landmark which I used to see from my house window when I was child. The monument I marked as my direction when I used to walk alone.
Sahid Gate and our beloved landmark is no more seen
Ambulance were speeding carrying the injured and dead people to nearby trauma center. At Tudhikhel, it was a moment of chaos. After seeing this incident I felt thankful to god we had a natural disaster on Staruday when most of the people are with family. Gave a thought what would have been the scenario if it was at night or on any office and school days. There would have been more casualties due to stampede in school and college as we have not been trained well how to act on such scenario.
My next thought was Taleju Bhawani temple, it’s a big landmark at Hanumandhokha. I went there and saw people crying in fear all the way to newroad. I saw some rescue workers working, there. They took one old lady alive from one of the building and was rushed to hospital. I went to Indrachowk and till then I did not see any large scale damage. I saw saw Taleju standing still . When I reach Hanuman Dhokha, I able to witness some small damage. I took few snaps and as i was engaged there was a small tremor. The half portion of the kagewore temple which was still there following this tremor.
Taleju Bhawani Temple
The worst scenario I witnessed was when I reach in front of Kumari ghaar. All of the temples had turned into rubble. There was a crane pulling the wooden structure to rescue people. My heart was too heavy to take pictures and kept my camera inside. When I reach Kasthamandap, also known as Marusattal, I saw people trying to take the big wooden pillar. And many people among us were just being observers there and a few were working together to pull all the wooden structures. I too got involve with them in taking off the rubble.
Kageshwore temple in blink of any eye
There were some tourists helping us and one of them shouted at few photographer who were shooting us. Then all other photographer also joined us. After working in dust for an hour without mask my face had turned brown with dust. I got thirsty and there was no water to drink. I also had not called my family back at home as I had not met my dad who had not reached home with his friend. Before leaving home I had talk as he said he fell from motorbike but was safe.
After helping at Kasthamandap, I felt proud of myself, felt at least I was there to help for my country, felt I did something for my country. It was a painful moment, I was proud of myself I was in my country when it needed it’s youths the most. After 2 days I came to know that at kasthamandap there was a blood donation program was going on and many people were trapped under the rubble.
on the way to Kumari Ghar from Hanuman dhoka
Rubble of Kasthamandap or Marusattal
As I was coming back home, I was thinking, It’s been more than two decade that the Government was saying it is planning for big earthquake disaster. The scientist had already announced that in few decade Nepal could be hit by a big earthquake and Kathmandu will be most affected city.
I thought to myself, just by naming a certain day as a earthquake day and showing how to lay down for safety during an earthquake in a stage by inviting the Prime Minister or the President was by no means a way to prepare for earthquake.
There lack of proper tool for rescue workers. The Police and Army were working with bare hands and primitive tools like hammer. I felt bad in ways that our government had prepared itself for big earthquake disaster like this even after two decades of warnings. Wished the government had asked all the youth to participate on how to work as rescue worker during such disaster, wished every ward office had all necessary tools to manage such disaster and a good coordination between all the organization and individuals working for rescue and relief efforts.
Hopefully our government has learnt a big lesson from last year’s earthquake.
I still feel that if my friend’s brother could have been rescued in few hours time, he would still have been alive. Due to lack of proper tools it took 12 hours to rescue him even after the rescue team reach at the place in 1 hour time.
P.S all the picture were taken on 25th april 2015