If you’d like to contribute to help the people of Nepal recover from the devastating earthquake, please visit our page collecting some worthy causes.
At 11:56 AM on Saturday, April 25, 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal. The epicenter was 80 km northwest of Kathmandu.
At this time, we were sitting on an outdoor terrace for a teahouse in the village of Bamboo on the Langtang trek, located approximately 70 km north of Kathmandu and 80 km east of the epicenter.
The actions that happened next are a bit muddled to us, so the timeline of the events below may not be entirely accurate.
We definitely felt the ground start shaking, which was surreal for us since neither of us had been in an earthquake. We were not used to the sensation of the entire ground moving beneath our feet. Della recalls asking Eric “What’s happening?,” and he said “I think it’s an earthquake.”
We then wondered what to do and where to head to have the most safety. Eric’s instinct was to head for the teahouse, since he had heard that a doorframe was a good place to be in an earthquake. He stood up to go in that direction, but then we saw the server running out of the house with his arms up in the air as if he was telling everyone to come to where we were. We decided to stay put.
This was a good decision, because moments later there was a giant cracking sound as the walls on both side of the canyon started to break apart and boulders started to rain down.
At first we just watched, because our spot in the middle of the canyon was not in the direct path of any of the rocks and also because we were in complete shock. Rocks from the north side of the canyon were falling into the river, and those from the south side were falling onto the teahouses themselves. We watched in horror as a car-sized boulder crushed the teahouse that our server had just exited from. Other buildings were also smashed or toppled by debris falling from the hillside above.
Smaller rocks, bouncing from both sides of the river started to fly through the air as well. It seemed like there was a chance that some of these rocks from either side could make it up to where we were standing. We ran as far to the edge of the terrace as we could go and still felt unsafe. We saw some wooden tables and benches and huddled underneath them with some of the other people who had been eating there, covering our heads with our hands to protect them as best we could. We were really lucky because those flying rocks would injure two badly and kill one.
The shaking and landslides settled down, so we got up to take in the situation. But then rocks started to rain down again (we can’t remember if this was due to another shake of the earth or not), so we jumped back under our wooden barriers. The slides subsided again, and we came out to see what was going on.
You can see what our view was like from our friend Corey’s video. (Make sure to check out his GoFundMe project linked with the video)
We didn’t really know what to do, but then we saw some of the villagers and the other groups heading up the trail. We didn’t have any better idea, so we followed them.
This went through an area that had clearly been impacted by falling rocks, so we jogged quickly up the hill. The group headed for an area protected by two large boulders with a cave in between. There was already a large collection of people settled here that we would join.
We stayed in this area of safety for five nights.
We will continue to tell the story of our earthquake experience in Nepal. We were extremely fortunate to survive and to be able to come home to the USA. Our stories are now over, but those in Nepal are not that fortunate. Huge numbers of people have lost their homes and their livelihoods. Please take some time to donate (any amount, large or small, can help) to help this beautiful country recover. We’ve collected list of organizations that you might consider here.
Use these links to read the rest of our Nepal Earthquake story:
- Bus Ride: Kathmandu to SyabruBesi
- Our Langtang Trek (Before the Quake)
- After the Earthquake Part 1: Sheltering at Bamboo/Survival
- After the Earthquake Part 2: Decisions and Projects
- After the Earthquake Part 3: The Politics and Money of Rescue
- After the Earthquake Part 4: Rescue
- After the Earthquake Part 5: Returns and Reunions