By Moni Basu
Sadly, the earth’s rumbling seems so fresh here. Debris lies stacked like grim monuments to shattered lives.
The 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit almost a year ago, on the morning of April 25. It turned out to be the worst natural disaster of 2015. Then, on May 12, a 7.3 aftershock rocked this Himalayan nation again. In all, more than 8,000 people died and millions of homes cracked or collapsed.
In places such as Sankhu, about an hour’s drive from Kathmandu, the quake destroyed or damaged 750 of the town’s 960 houses, says Jagannath Kharel, who works with the international charity World Vision.
“The government has not been able to provide support,” Kharel tells me as he walks narrow lanes on an assessment mission. “It is a terrible situation. Hardly anything has changed.”
Nearby, the International Organization for Migration pays 100 Sankhu residents about $7 a day to clear bricks, chunks of concrete and dirt so that people then can finally start rebuilding their homes.
“Sankhu is being cleared slowly. The government wants someone else to do the job,” says Dipendra Shrestha, the group’s local manager, whose own house fell to the ground in the earthquake.