Nepal quake survivors wait for kin to returnFamilies of those killed in the earthquake wait for family members abroad to perform funeral rites
It has been three days, and survivors of the 3 November earthquake in Kolchaur village have been waiting for kin to return from abroad so they can perform the cremation rites of those who died. When the earthquake hit just before midnight on Friday, six people all from the same family, lost their lives here, buried when their home collapsed.
On Sunday morning, villagers gathered in front of what used to be the home of Hasti Kami. Some stacked logs while others made bamboo stretchers for the bodies to be taken down to the river for the collective cremation.
They had been waiting for the bodies of five of those killed to arrive from the morgue at Jajarkot Hospital where they had been kept until Hasti’s son Uday who is a migrant worker in Malaysia arrived. On Friday, Hasti, 62 along with nine of her family had gone to bed after dinner. Hasti only found two of her grandsons, Bikram and Ujwal still alive. Neighbours helped dig out the bodies of the other six members in the darkness.
Read Also: Deadly earthquake hits W Nepal, Nepali Times
Hasti lost her daughter-in-law Januka, 30, granddaughters Sharmila, 13 and Anjali, 9 and her four-year-old grandson Ujjwal. They are the wife and children of Uday who arrived from Malaysia on Sunday. Hasti also lost two other granddaughters Niruta, 11, who is Uday’s brother’s daughter and Bishnu Tiruwa, 8, who is the daughter of Uday’s sister Lalmati.
Read Also: Mass cremations for Nepal quake victims, Sagar Budhathoki and Gopen Rai
Lalmati had left her daughter in the care of her mother when she went to work in Kuwait. Bishnu’s body is still in the hospital waiting for her mother’s return.
Around 1pm, the bodies arrived from the hospital wrapped in white cloth. As the five were laid in front of the house, Hasti folded her hands and started weeping, asking for forgiveness for not being able to save her family.
Read also: Demographics of disaster in Nepal quake, Nepali Times
Uday arrived at the ruins of his home amidst the cry of mourners. He was in shock, and could not say anything as he knelt next to the bodies of his wife and children. He could not even shed a tear. A relative said, “At least look at your son’s face.” Uday finally spoke: “What is there to look at? There is nothing left anymore.” Another relative removed the cloth around the face of his four-year-old son. Uday could not control himself and finally let out a cry, saying: “God! Why did you do this to me? Why should I live when the ones for whom I worked to take care of are no more?”
His hands trembled as he smeared vermillion on his son’s face. He still could not bring himself to look at his daughters and wife’s face. “Look at them one last time,” relatives urged him.
Neighbours then carried the bodies and headed down to the cremation site by the river. Hasti followed, stopping midway with other women from the village.
Today, she bid farewell to five of her family members, she still has to see off her youngest granddaughter whose body was waiting for her mother to arrive from Kuwait.
Read Also: Grief-stricken survivors are cold and hungry, Sagar Budathoki