The day before yesterday, another one at 5.7 on the Richter scale struck. Since 25 April they have not stopped. The whole population of those regions affected by the earthquake are sleeping in the open, away from buildings. You can see fear on their faces.
Kathmandu is as empty as it was on ‘bandh’ days (strikes imposed during the Maoist insurrection) or the Dashain holiday period. The shops are shut. However, some are beginning timidly to open again. The hospital are just beginning to get on top of the more acute cases linked to the earthquake. At the Nepal Orthopedic Hospital, all the medical activity takes place in an organised way outdoors; an immense surgical tent with three operating tables, and several hospitalisation tents (there are 160 beds compared with the usual 100). The staff are tired.
After the Bhadchchek camp, we left for Solukhumbu, which had been badly affected by the second quake of last Tuesday. Many, many buildings have been affected. Built of stones and clay, the walls fissure and become unstable, and thus the houses become uninhabitable. A further shock and they would collapse.
And what about the monsoon, which should arrive in two or three weeks time. The priority today is shelter for the population. With the participation of the local administration, to help the most affected families, we have distributed tarpaulins or tents (up to 250), so that they can construct shelters away from their homes. The same for blankets (up to 350) and rice (3 tons) so that this population can cope as quickly as possible. We are participating actively in this operation.
In Phaplu the hospital, badly damaged, cannot house the patients. We have set up an immense hospitalisation tent with the help of UNICEF, as well as a number of other tents. Once more, everyone has to come into these shelters while awaiting reconstruction. We have been helping the local medical team to reorganise everything and assisting with consultations. Large cases of medicines needed for the next few months have been coming in, taking advantage of the lorries bringing other material. The road will probably be cut off by landslides during the monsoon.
The children are not going to school. The government decided not to re-open the schools until 29 May. More than 1000 schools have been destroyed or declared unfit (possible collapse) in the most affected areas…
At a later stage, no doubt, reconstruction will begin, but there is so much still to do before then.