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Photo Essay: Hope Amid Horror in Nepal

NEPAL

TMP Board member Vishal Arora filed this photo essay from Kathmandu.  Look for his reporting from Nepal's quake zone in national media like Religion News Service.

KATHMANDU - Death, destruction and depression are what one would normally associate with the aftermath of a 7.8-magnitude earthquake, which shook the nation of Nepal in the Himalayas on April 25, 2015. In minutes, thousands were dead, and hundreds of thousands of others lost their homes and loved ones. But a closer look shows hope amid this horror.

 

Nepal debris fieldWhen Nepal’s most powerful earthquake in eight decades struck at around noon on April 25, an estimated 600,000 houses crashed to the ground or suffered partial damage. Many had a chance to sprint out of their houses, work places or shopping centers, but many thousands could not. The debris of the structures that you see across Nepal include not just bricks, concrete and steel, but also crushed kitchen items and toys and books, along with bodies still buried deep in the rubble more than a week after the calamity.

 

Nepal Tent City

When relatives and rescue workers rushed bodies to hospitals in the minutes and hours after the quake, mortuaries were soon jammed with piles of bodies. Staff and volunteers began to transport them to any vacant rooms the hospitals had - even on the roadside.  This is one such room at the T.U. Teaching Hospital in Kathmandu, which only had some green cloth to obscure the view but not the bodies drenched in blood.

 

Nepal Injured Man

The injured were put on beds or chairs, or on the ground outside the hospital, especially if they were found to have “minimal” wounds, the definition of which changed minutes after the quake. However, none of the patients complained, or demanded more. Nor did this brave man, who spoke to me about his injuries and life in a calm and pleasant manner.

 

Nepal boys on bed

The bed these two boys shared was set in a tent outside the hospital. The boys showed no signs of trauma despite having suffered broken bones. They were playful, and at times naughty, as if in an amusement park. They were especially amused by my three cameras – two hanging from my shoulders and one in my hand.

 

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