All posts tagged: Earthquake

The Quiet Side of the Quake

Sometimes an earthquake won’t leave tracks. Aerial images and footage of Durbar Square in Kathmandu  – a hub of the city’s most elaborate architecture and historic buildings – have become the iconic representation of what was lost during the earthquake: Nepal didn’t only lose lives, but part of their culture was erased. True, the quake’s damage is undeniable. But for some, the earthquake wasn’t as hectic as it was for others. One volunteer I interviewed was in Thamel during the first quake – Kathmandu’s tourist sector, which is characterized by its crowded, narrow streets. It seems like the perfect formula for destruction, especially during an earthquake. She told me about what happened in the basement of the building she was in. “We didn’t see anything damaged. Nothing really happened here.” “The people were running – I don’t know why they started running. I told them to calm down.” She noted a role reversal: she imaged the locals would be used to the earthquakes, but instead the tourists played the role of the voice of calm. …

A Cracked City

For many people in Kathmandu, the morning of Saturday, April 25th had all the signs of a normal weekend. But before noon, all signs of normalcy were shattered. Nanda Maharjan was about to have her midday meal as she felt her floors shaking. And within seconds, it was clear to her what was happening. Bhūkampa! Bhūkampa! her mind raced as she went to wake her husband. She and her husband darted under their door frame and waited until the shaking stopped. After what seemed like hours, they slowly made their way outside. Thankfully, their house wasn’t severely damaged. But quite the opposite was true for many other Nepalis. As you fly into Kathmandu and scan the cityscape, you’ll see the familiar square architecture, complete with rooftops and colorfully painted walls. But for the past few weeks, many of these buildings have been vacant. Past the houses and into the fields are numerous tent-villages – clusters of tarps and makeshift structures to shelter families from their nearly collapsed homes. This has become a common sight in …