1-7 May 2015 #756

Surviving Dharara

Shobha Sharma on Setopati, 29 April

On the fifth floor of the National Trauma Center, 17-year-old Ramila Shrestha (pic, right) and her friend Sanjeev Shrestha (pic, left) lie next to each other in the same ward. Ramila with a fractured leg and Sanjeev with a fractured arm. Both of them, survivors of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit central Nepal completely demolishing Dharara.

Ramila came to Kathmandu two months ago from Ramechhap to help her father Deepak Shrestha with his shop in Kirtipur. Sanjeev, a native of Bhimpokhari, was living with his sister-in-law at Basantapur. Ever since reading about Dharara in school, Ramila had wanted to climb the country’s tallest tower. So, on Saturday the two set out to enjoy a bird’s eye view of Kathmandu before going to the movies at Guna Cinema.

Excited about her first visit, Ramila walked ahead of her friend while stopping to look out the circular windows along the stairs. The two had just stepped out into the balcony when the tower started tottering. From the ground people started shouting “earthquake”. Ramila remembers Sanjeev sitting down while she held on tightly to the railings as the structure came crashing down. Next thing she remembers, she was lying flat on the rubble with her friend a little further away. The railing she had held on to crushed a mother and her daughter.

“If I hadn’t been thrown off, I would have been dead too,” says Ramila who was rescued by a policeman. Sanjeev came to in hospital and woke up next to Ramila.

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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