Nepal

People fleeing Kathmandu, by bus and on foot to reach their villages

May 01, 2015 04:47 AM
People fleeing kathmandu on buses, on foot to reaches their villages

KATHMANDU: Tens of thousands of people are making torturous, impossibly brave and, in some cases, futile journeys back home to the countryside from cities and towns they'd come to eke out a living.

On Thursday, traffic police in Kathmandu confirmed that since Saturday's earthquake, close to 500,000 may have left the valley for places as far as Solukhumbu, at about 11,000 ft with Everest to its north. 

Many have reached their native villages. A few arrived after days of journey by bus and on foot to razed houses, dead kin waiting to be cremated and livestock that's fled.

In Sindhupalchowk, the district that's so far recorded the most deaths at about 1,600, Bhakta Kumar Rai said he first got into a bus from Kathmandu and walked about 40 km, carrying bits of food, a plastic sheet and Rs 3,000 cash. "That's all I had," he said. Working as a cook in a Kathmandu low-budget hotel, Rai doesn't make much.

His trek, though, was worthwhile. His father is fine, with a broken leg that needs fixing, but his wife has head injuries that are still gaping, there isn't anyone to stitch them up. His daughter, who was playing outside when the quake came, scraped her knees while running to safety.

Others who've come back or are on their way won't be so lucky. Entire families have perished. People talk about a house in Patang where 12 have died. There's nothing much of the structure either.

On Thursday, traffic police in Kathmandu confirmed that since Saturday's earthquake, close to 500,000 may have left the valley for places as far as Solukhumbu, at about 11,000 ft with Everest to its north. Many more are preparing to leave. In 11 of the 30 districts most battered, some 2 million are crying for help. It's this population that fleeing multitudes from the Kathmandu valley are trying to reach.

On Wednesday over 10,000 gathered in the capital after they heard government had organized 500 buses to take them home for free. The information turned out to be false and those who'd lined up since 3 am turned violent.

The ministry of education is coordinating with schools to lend buses. About 300 buses were given out to passengers free. But that's hardly enough.

People will in the end have to organize their own tough travel. One can't reach places in the mountains on 'direct' buses. People need to trek for hours through jungles to reach their villages.

That hasn't stopped thousands from embarking on a road that's as difficult as urgent. At the end of it is the very same family they'd come to the city for.

 

 

 

 

Have something to say? Post your comment