1-7 May 2015 #756

Barpak in ruins

Sudip Kaini, Kantipur, 29 April

Anyone who has visited Barpak village of Gorkha district has this image of a picturesque hamlet of identical houses, cobble stone streets, a micro-hydropower plant supplying round-the-clock electricity and home-stay facilities for tourists.

The tiny picturesque village perched on a slope in Gorkha district was completely destroyed in last week’s earthquake. Only 50 of the 1,400 houses survived intact. The displaced families have been living in makeshift tents, braving rain and cold weather.

“Even those houses that still stand are not habitable,” said local resident, Om Bahadur Ghale. “Altogether 65 bodies had been pulled out from the rubble till Tuesday, but Ghale says there might be many more.

“There was a big jolt and our houses crumbled, the dust covered us in no time,” Ghale added. “Within seconds we lost our families, houses, schools, and health posts.”

If that wasn’t bad enough a fire then started and gutted 35 houses, killing four more people. Eight masonry workers were killed when an building under construction collapsed.

Despite its remoteness, Barpak is not poor. Its industrious inhabitants have prospered from eco-tourism and cottage industries. The village had schools, police office, post office, agriculture office and health post – all of them now destroyed.

The only way rescue teams can reach Barpak is by a helicopter, and Indian and Nepali choppers airlifted 65 injured people on Tuesday. Those who remain survive on biscuits and instant noodles dropped from helicopters.

Read also:

Giving to the living

Shaking things up, Editorial

Langtang is gone, Sahina Shrestha

Monumental loss, Stéphane Huët

Mapping the aftermath, Ayesha Shakya

Microcosm of a calamity, Cynthia Choo and Sonia Awale

Teacher's tragedy, Cynthia Choo

Coming out stronger from crisis, Anjana Rajbhandary

Believe it, or not, Tsering Dolker Gurung

A slow start, David Seddon

The earthquake from above, Kunda Dixit

Surviving trauma, Anjana Rajbhandary

In photos: Nepal Earthquake, Bikram Rai

Thanking the Living Goddess for life, Min Ratna Bajracharya

Preparing to be prepared, Kunda Dixit

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