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Kathmandu Crumbles – an appeal from international photographer, Jill Gocher
Once every 80 years or so they say, a the tectonic plates of China and India start to rumble, causing an uplift in the Himalaya and great disturbances beneath. Poor Kathmandu and the surrounding areas has just suffered a huge earthquake. At 7.9 on the Richter scale, it is larger than the one that recently decimated Haiti and large enough to cause heart-breaking damage both to Kathmandu’s historical sites and buildings and to people’s lives. The Nepali people are attending to the daunting tasks with stoicism and without a fuss. Perhaps it is in their nature, but they are just getting to work without temperament.
Those who can are fleeing – many of the youth are returning to their undamaged villages on the first available bus of which many extras have been seconded for this very purpose. Others, no doubt are leaving the country to safer places. Relief troops are pouring in. Hard faced, kind hearted folk who know how to deal with emergency situations. Amateurs please stay at home and send money. You can have no idea how hard it is and you will only get in the way. Money will buy what is needed – food clothing medical supplies and hopefully some kind of sanitary equipment that will stem the flow of cholera and typhoid which is already threatening the valley.
Thousands of folk are sleeping in public parks and any open spaces, as the aftershocks are still rumbling, able to cause more damage to already shakey buildings. There is no water, even to drink so sanitary conditions can quickly deteriorate into outbreaks of disease. Sadly the UNESCO world heritage city of Bhaktapur has crumbled to dust. Durbar Square is a pile of rubble. But some areas have been spared,. The Buddhist icon and favourite pilgrimage spot of Boudhanath is left almost unscathed, nothing that cannot be fixed with ease. Perhaps it is the Power of prayer that has saved it.
Poor Kathmandu and even worse, the outlying areas, that are only now, starting to get much need assistance is hurting badly. Some villages have been totally decimated and the villagers are left without food or water. While Nepal is the worst hit, damage has been recorded on the Tibet side of Mt Everest, where there is little hope of aid. Some parts of India, Bangladesh have also suffered although not to the same extent. Pray for Nepal – we all need to pray and if possible send money. Every little bit helps in this dire situation for which there is no easy, or fast answer. – Jill Gocher
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