The Earthquakes hit us hard…but we will rise from the ashes…
Decades of predictions by seismologists about a ‘big quake’ due to hit Nepal has been proved, sadly and bitterly, with pinpoint accuracy.
It was one of those Saturdays, pretty dull with weak sunshine that seemed to appear over the Kathmandu valley in fits and starts. Most of the local denizens were relaxed at home busy with the normal chores that generally happen on the weekend; one day holiday in a week of seven days in a country that follows the hindu calendar that goes by the Bikram era. Folks were probably preparing delicious dishes that generally are enjoyed on the weekend at home with all the loved ones around. Some were washing clothes and some took this as a chance to wash away the week’s dirt with a sizzling shower. And there were those who thought – well, let’s go wild on the streets with an outing to visit temples and the valleys prime museums. And so be it, it was anyone’s and everyone’s day to simply relax and chill out. And this is when nature decided to turn into a beast of disaster. It was exactly at 11.56am on Saturday 25 April, when the earth in Kathmandu began to shake with an eerie sound that churned the guts of thousands of people in the ancient valley; a massive 7.9 magnitude tremor hit the Kathmandu Valley, centred on Gorkha district, just north of the main highway between Kathmandu and Pokhara. In the initial tremor, and in the aftershocks that followed, whole villages were flattened and avalanches and landslides lashed over climbers and trekkers. More than 1500 deaths were reported in Kathmandu alone and many of Nepal’s most known iconic landmarks were reduced to rubble in seconds…and this was only the beginning to what some said was close to doomsday, the likes of something that would be the first experience of their lives…never to be forgotten.
News of Disaster from all over the land:
By the 26 April, the official death toll had exceeded 3000, with government sources predicting that the final toll could climb above 10,000. The United Nations reported that 8 million people would be directly affected by the earthquake, with 1.4 million in urgent need of food aid and shelter. Transport and infrastructure were severely affected and tent cities were setup across most affected areas, with governments from as far as Australia and the UK providing relief aid.
Although Kathmandu airport reopened shortly after the quake, most flights that arrived and departed were part of the relief effort, with the Indian, Australian and British air forces providing aircraft to deliver aid and to transport their citizens to the nearest safe destination for transfers home. Many roads were damaged or blocked by landslides across the affected area and large parts of central Nepal were without electricity or phone connections.
What many of the local people felt most was the dwindling supply of food and potable water. Even waterborne diseases were being reported around the Kathmandu Valley, with health experts issuing warnings about the risk of epidemics due to the consumption of contaminated food and drink. The problems were most evident in rural villages and in the
shanty towns occupied by poor families in and around Kathmandu, where houses were simply not built strongly enough to withstand the force of the quakes.
A Rich History in rubble
Until the morning of Saturday 25 April, the soaring temples and palaces of the Kathmandu Valley were the gems of a nation wealthy in cultural treasures, giving the Nepalese capital a skyline straightaway identifiable just like as London or New York. All of the Kathmandu Valley was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1979 in recognition of the significance of such a vast assembling of medieval architecture in one spot. The first massive shock which hit the valley eliminated 600 years of history in seconds, reducing many of the most iconic temples in Nepal to tinder sticks and rubble. Locals witnessed the terrifying ordeal as pagodas crumbled to dust in Kathmandu Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square and Bhaktapur Durbar Square. Temple spires crumbled at Swayambhunath and Kathmandu’s unique Dharahara Tower collapsed like a deck of cards, turning into a virtual grave for dozens of sightseers inside. Initial reports put the death toll at 180 at that site alone.
When the first pictures of the disaster were flashed, many thought that the devastation was total. This was more or less the notion given by many news reports in both Nepali and international newspapers. However, over time after the quakes, it is now surely clear that many monuments defied the force of nature and emerged unscathed from the disaster. Tantamount to this, there were reports that Kathmandu Durbar Square was totally flattened and that half of buildings in Bhaktapur were turned to dust and debris, with 80% of temples destroyed, but then this all turned out to be absolute exaggeration, though the damages that did occur of some monuments were severe.
Is It Okay for Me to Visit Nepal again?
The earthquakes certainly played havoc with Nepal’s geography and significant damages have occurred, but all is not lost. There has been much loss on lives and properties and Nepal’s Tourism infrastructures have certainly been affected; but not as portrayed in the international media. Nepal will certainly need the income that tourism brings as it attempts to recover from this disaster, and at this point in time, our government in line with the Ministry of Tourism have requested foreign governments to support Nepal by removing negative advisories as the Government of Nepal has ensured the world that Nepal is still a safe destination to spend an unforgettable holiday, just like it was before.
The earthquakes that hit Nepal are now history and it has now been almost 2 months till date when the disaster occurred. The dust has settled and tourists visiting Nepal come the falls of the peak season will soon be witness to a new Nepal and one of the safest countries in the world to travel. Some of our heritage sites are going through the repair process and our prime monuments that escaped the destructive quakes have been opened by the government for tourists to visit once again and see for themselves that our history still stands preserved waiting for visitors to watch in amazement its resilience that withstood the massive quakes.
Our hills and mountains still stand strong and ring with the sound of music as our chirping birds still sing their merry tunes. The mountain folks who survived the quakes still know how to smile and welcome trekkers in rebuilt homes as they go about their daily cultural and agricultural chores; preferring to look ahead and not despair as they believe that as destructive as nature can be, Nepal’s mother nature knows also how to give back to those who respect and understand her complex ways.
How Can I Help Nepal in This Dire Situation?
Many people from across the world feel a strong emotional attachment to Nepal and are desperate to do something to help, and the best way to do this is: VISIT US AGAIN! Every dollar that you spend here will help a child go to school, feed a family and create employment for someone. Perhaps most of all, your visit will bring hope to a people who’ve never known tragedy of such proportions. And when you do arrive in Nepal sooner than later, FAMILY ADVENTURE TREKS & EXPEDITIONS will be at the airport to welcome you – not as a tourist – but a mother, father, brother, sister, an uncle or aunt, once in Nepal, you are FAMILY and all the services we provide you will be purely based on that, like one of our own.