Nepal was hit with another big earthquake this afternoon – early reports are classifying it as a 7.3 magnitude shock. Besides being a little shaken up (no pun intended, seriously) we’re fine, and it seems like the rest of the Tewa volunteers are also safe. There is no official news yet on the death toll or new damage around the country; the epicenter of the quake was right near Mount Everest, about 50 miles east of Kathmandu.
We were in the children’s ward on the third floor of the Orthopedic Hospital when the aftershock hit. It lasted for about thirty seconds, and we were able to make it halfway down to ground level before the building stopped shaking. It was a deeply scary event: the kids we were with, all of whom suffered broken bones in the last earthquake and many of whom lost family members, erupted into screams of terror and stampeded for the door. Thank god the building held up OK. We had spent the morning serving food in Tewa’s soup kitchen, which now feels like a million years ago.
After lunch we went down to the children’s ward, where kids ranging from infants to sixteen year olds are recovering from their injuries from the first earthquake.
And then another one hit. The whole hospital evacuated to an open field nearby.
Patients who were in surgery were sewn up quickly and evacuated out into the brutal midday sun. More than anything, this newest earthquake has rattled the already traumatized Nepali people – it was terrifying for us, and we haven’t lived through all the hundreds of aftershocks Nepal has experienced since April 25. We keep hearing a common refrain – enough already! – and couldn’t agree more. Here’s hoping the news from the rest of the country isn’t as dire as we fear.