A former Creetown woman caught up in Nepal’s double earthquake horror has spoken out on the heartbreak facing the country.
And Natalie Candlish has called for aid from anyone who can spare it as thousands live in fear of the next quake as well as the coming monsoon season.
The 28-year-old has been travelling for a few months and arrived in Nepal six weeks ago.
Describing the first quake, Natalie said she was alone on the third floor of the home she’s staying in with a Nepalese family.
She said: “Everything was shaking, falling over and the whole house was spinning, I couldn’t understand how it was staying up. I tried to get up to run downstairs but I just fell down so waited until it slowed. Fortunately, where I am staying is not badly damaged at all and all of the buildings are still standing.
“I had no idea if it was normal until speaking to my hosts and neighbours who said they had never experienced such a strong earthquake before and so many aftershocks.
“For four days the whole city was camped outside afraid to go back indoors and we’ve been having aftershocks every day since then.”
Natalie has been volunteering with Earthquake Action Nepal and has been distributing Sawyer water filters and sanitation training to prevent disease.
Then just as things began to return to normal with schools and offices reopening last Sunday, the second quake hit.
Natalie said: “I was with friends in the city centre at Sundhara, it was much scarier as the streets are tiny, tall buildings and no open spaces.
“Everyone was running, screaming and shouting.
“We ran to where the Dharahara Tower had been before it had collapsed.
“There was a lot of panic, people crying and fainting but everyone knows to avoid the damaged or unstable buildings so thankfully there are no casualties where I am.
“The general feeling here is of fear and uncertainty, Kathmandu as a city has a young, progressive population who were working towards improving Nepal’s problems but now, speaking to people, they feel like everything has been set back ten years and a lot of people now want to go overseas.
“There’s a real lack of leadership – everyone is unsure what to do next.”
To help out, visit Earthquake Action Nepal’s Facebook page to contact them (facebook.com/groups/1425519124422753), or visit the website of an organisation suggested by Natalie called All Hands which she says is doing sterling work with the rebuilding of homes (www.hands.org).