Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Gorkha Quake of Nepal

It was a Saturday. T was out on a mountain bike ride with some friends. I was tired, and decided not to join them that morning. I had eaten lunch early, and was sitting on the 3rd floor of our house sewing. Then the house started to shake.

On April 25 at 11:56am, a 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal. It has been followed by hundreds of aftershocks, including a 7.3. I've wanted to write this post to update everyone, but it seems like anything I write would dilute the effect this earthquake has had on the people of Nepal.

In the last two months, I have seen the resilience and strength of the Nepali people that has continued to bring me back to this country, year after year. The sense of community, the sense of pride, the strength of people so humbled by the power of the earth.

We have all been busy. This is the first weekend where I feel I can just sit at home and relax. The emergency response has been intense, especially as we struggle to meet needs before the monsoon's arrival in just a few weeks. I have been working with Save the Children on their Water/Sanitation/Hygiene (WASH) response, building emergency latrines and hand washing stations, distribution hygiene kits and water treatment kits, and promoting hygiene in communities where people's homes have been destroyed. I feel incredibly grateful that I was not injured in the earthquake, and that I am able to apply my experience in Nepal and on WASH here in this country I love and call home.

I don't want to focus on the sadness of the destruction, but I have added a few photos of things I have seen in Nepal since the earthquake.

Kathmandu Durbar Square, November 2014
Kathmandu Durbar Square, 30 April 2015. Thousands of volunteers help clear rubble throughout the city.
The road to Bhaktapur - a 700m slump dropped the road.
A bamboo forest: Building emergency latrines at a camp in Bhaktapur.
Emergency latrines for women and kids finished in Bhaktapur.
Building emergency latrines in Bhaktapur.
Bamboo used to hold up house walls in Bhaktapur.
A shopfront in Bhatapur sits closed under a collapsed building.
Buildings made from brick crumble in Bhaktapur.
Traditional doors lean under the weight of a collapsing building.
A damaged school in Dhading District. Aid organizations are building Temporary Learning Centers (TLCs) so kids can go to school.
A completely destroyed house. In the top right, the latrine remains standing.
A temporary home in Dhading District made from salvaged materials.
A latrine in Dhading District being built alongside a temporary home. I was so proud of the man prioritizing a toilet for his family!


  1. I wondered if you were ok! I can't imagine being in the middle of the devastation from an earthquake. (I found your blog a while ago - your pretty dresses! - and started following before your move).

    1. Thanks Nancy! I didn't really know there were people out there who checked out this blog, other than my family :) We've been working hard on rebuilding Nepal, and I am constantly humbled by the resilience and genuine warmth of Nepalis. Really a fabulous country.