Nepal earthquake: Reaching people at the epicentre

Women and children sitting at the helicopter strip in Gorkha town awaiting relief supplies

CARE’s emergency response is increasingly focusing on rural areas between Kathmandu and Pokhara, where the earthquake was at its strongest. These areas have been completely devastated. Some villages that have been completely flattened are only accessible by helicopter and relief workers are walking for hours to try and access people who are in desperate need of help.

Getting support to these areas will be a key focus of CARE’s response.

Ruined houses in Paslang village

Paslang village – a popular stopping place for tourists trekking in the area – was badly destroyed in the earthquake

We are starting our first distribution of emergency shelter and hygiene kits to 1,200 people in Gorkha. Family kits have arrived from India and Australia (transported by air and then by road), and distributions are beginning today (1 May) targeting 172 households in the four areas of Poslan, Chandeni, Patheltok and Lamaga.

Unloading relief supplies from a lorry

A CARE worker and Nepali officers unload relief supplies from a truck chartered by CARE

CARE experts in Gorkha are also assessing the needs at various potential distribution points. We are coordinating with other NGOs working in the area, the local government, and Village Development Committees (VDCs). We have been assigned six VDC areas and we also plan to branch out into other affected northern rural areas.

Survivor stories

Tika Devi Rana in her ruined house

Tika Devi Rana in the shell of a room in her ruined house. When the earthquake hit, her husband Keshar Bahadur Rana was out ploughing in the field, while she and her youngest son Birkha were also out. The family are now living in a tent near their house and we photographed them when they came to collect some grains to cook and eat.

Keshar Bahadur Rana outside his ruined house

Keshar Bahadur Rana on the steps of his ruined house

The Thapa family stand on rubble from their collapsed home

The Thapa family standing on the ruins of their home. Ram Bahadur Thapa and his six family members were thankfully all out, he on his field and the others at other work, when the earthquake hit their village, Paslang.

Jamuna Rana

Jamuna Rana, age 23, mother of a one-month-old baby boy, Bhim Bahadur Rana, who died in the earthquake. Jamuna’s husband, Raju Rana, was out cutting grass and Jamuna left Bhim Bahadur for a few moments to go to the toilet when the earthquake hit. A wall collapsed, burying him in rubble. It took rescuers one hour to remove the rubble and recover his body. Jamuna told us: “Other children survived but my son died. I don’t know why. Maybe it was his destiny to live for the time he did.”

CARE talks to earthquake survivors

“Despite our own losses, we have helped them, and will help tomorrow. This is what humanity is all about.” In this Disasters Emergency Committee video, see villagers from Paslang talk about their experiences, including how they themselves are helping people from more remote villages who are coming to Paslang seeking aid.

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News and stories are provided by CARE staff working to support our emergency responses and long-term development programmes.