Sat, 20 Apr, 2024

Bungamati After the Quakes

By Ruby Shrestha

Photo: The Bungamati area after the earthquake Photo Courtesy: Ruby Shrestha

prayfornepalBungamati, the area where Goddess Rato Machhindranath and her mother reside in, also comes under one of the many places affected by the seismic waves of 25th April and the following days. People in Bungamati have a belief that the earthquake is somehow related to the Machhindranath Jatra which started towards the beginning of Baishak 2072. According to the locals, since there was a mild earthquake some days before the Jatra, they had to carry out Chhyama Puja, meaning, a puja to ask for forgiveness to the God, before actually starting the Jatra. But the Jatra started without conducting the puja. Also, the process they followed to place the mask of a God on the top of the Machhindranath chariot was done in a short-cut method. Hence, they consider the earthquake of 25th April to be the result of the sin that they had committed.

The beliefs might differ according to places; however the pain that people have gone through and are still experiencing due to the destruction caused by the massive earthquake is more or less the same.

[gallery columns="1" link="none" ids="6607,6606,6615"] Like in other earthquake-hit areas, Bungamati too had eyes constantly searching for assistance, souls yearning for motivation, hearts wrenched in the loss of loved ones, and faces saddened in search of shelter. Nonetheless, there were people well involved in assisting those who were feeling down, actively working to help uplift their sad faces. After having brief conversations with the locals, the volunteers involved in assistance and a member of Armed Police Force, and after observing the scenes around, we were able to get some idea about the state of Bungamati.

Based on 3rd May Below are some conversations that we thought would provide our readers with good information.


Nirmala Shrestha:

[caption id="attachment_6603" align="aligncenter" width="970"]Nirmala Shrestha, the one with the dog, sharing her story Nirmala Shrestha, the one with the dog, sharing her story
Photo Courtesy: Saurav Tuladhar[/caption]

“What were you doing when the earthquake first hit Nepal?”

When the earthquake hit Nepal for the first time on 25th April, I was at home. I tried to come outside to the open, but initially I was unable to do so because of the continuous movements. Later, I managed to come outside.

“Are you staying in the tent because of fear or because your house has been damaged?”

Yes, my house has some cracks. But I am staying outside because the way to my house has been blocked. A house nearby fell down and has blocked the way completely.

“Do you have any problems? Is everything, including your health, fine?”

No, currently I do not think I have any major problems. It is good to see volunteers involved in rubble clearance. I hope the way to my home gets cleared soon.

“So, are you provided with services? Is the VDC providing the services or other organizations?”

Yes, we have been provided with services such as food and medicines. As far as I think, it is not the VDC but other organizations providing the services.

“What more help do you think should be provided?”

I think they should continue with rubble clearance. And, sufficient help should be provided to those whose houses have completely collapsed.


A member of A.P.F (Armed Police Force):

[caption id="attachment_6620" align="aligncenter" width="762"]Conversing with the member of APF Conversing with the member of APF
Photo Courtesy: Saurav Tuladhar[/caption]

“What activities are you currently focusing on in this area?”

Actually, we’ve come here just today. We came here for clearing the rubble of the temple of Machhindranath and her mother. However, the locals here held a meeting some time ago in the morning and have told us not to get involved in the rubble clearance of the temple as for now. They instead told us to get involved in rubble clearance of the houses that have fallen down and to help them in building some place to stay in; only after having done that, they said that we could get involved in clearing the temple areas and placing the buried monuments in proper place.


Hardik Subedi, a volunteer involved in rubble clearance:

[caption id="attachment_6602" align="aligncenter" width="882"]Hardik Subedi telling us about his team's efforts Hardik Subedi telling us about his team's efforts
Photo Courtesy: Saurav Tuladhar[/caption]

“Can you introduce us to the work you and your team have been doing?”

We are from Himalayan Climate Initiative (HCI). We are currently working with National Planning Commission to help the earthquake hit Nepal, and currently we have around 2000 volunteers. We, the volunteers from HCI, are scattered in different areas for relief work, relief package distribution and sanitation. Actually, it is the fifth day of our relief operation. On 2nd May, we went to Panauti for relief package distribution. We have already covered Nuwakot. Today, some of our members have gone to Lubhu and Dhading to distribute the relief packages and make toilets, as a measure of promoting sanitation. And here today, our members are just involved in rubble clearance. We did not organize rubble clearance on our own. One of the members of this community organized it and our volunteers are just helping out.

“Now, after this massive earthquake, there are chances of epidemic. So, what actions have you taken with regards to sanitation?”

As I have already mentioned, our team has gone to Lubhu and Dhading today for making toilets as a sanitation promotion measure. We have planned to make around 1000 toilets by the end of this week.

“What other initiatives is your team planning to undertake?”

At present, we have been focusing on three things: Rubble Clearance, Relief Material Distribution and Sanitation. Next up, we are thinking of working on Rehabilitation. Almost everything has started to get normal in just a week. This shows how resilient Nepali society is. So, now we think that it’s time to focus on Rehabilitation.

[caption id="attachment_6609" align="aligncenter" width="900"]Volunteers involved in rubble clearance Photo Courtesy: Ruby Shrestha Volunteers involved in rubble clearance
Photo Courtesy: Ruby Shrestha[/caption]

As we were observing the scenes around, we came to know that some groups of people were monitoring the houses and pasting color papers on the houses: Red meant unsafe to go inside, Blue meant safe for going inside but unsafe for staying, Green meant safe for staying.

[caption id="attachment_6608" align="aligncenter" width="598"]A house unsafe for staying in Photo Courtesy: Sneha Parajuli A house, with a red paper, unsafe for going inside
Photo Courtesy: Sneha Parajuli[/caption]

Hence, the scenes around showed that people were well involved in their respective duties to help the people of Bungamati lead a normal life again.

[caption id="attachment_6615" align="aligncenter" width="822"]Doing their respective duties to help Bungamati rise again! Doing their respective duties to help Bungamati rise again!
Photo Courtesy: Ruby Shrestha[/caption]