Current situation at the epicentre Sunkhani, Dolakha

Current situation at the epicentre Sunkhani, Dolakha

There was a second Great Nepal Earthquake yesterday. As reported in the Nepali language newspaper, the epicentre of the 7.3 or 7.4 magnitude earthquake lay in Sunkhani itself in Dolakha district. 

Please disregard the first BBC report today, which initially put the earthquake in “western” Nepal, and later foreign media reports which even named Mt. Everest or Namché Bazaar as the epicentre.

At Sunkhani, the earth has cracked open in many places. Bulldozers are needed to reopen the road to and from Sunkhani. Until the roads are reopened and repaired, the only way in and out is by helicopter or a trek of many days on foot. At this moment the people of Sunkhani are isolated.

Because of the newly opened crevasses and the fresh avalanches, there is not much place to pitch one’s tent. Most of the temporary shelters which Krishna had built are still standing, and Krishna’s family are alive. There are many new dead, however, and there are no areas that look stable.

During the earthquake and during each of today’s aftershocks, large boulders come charging down the mountain. One boulder crushed to death a great uncle of Krishna’s who could not run out of the way fast enough. Dodging boulders is difficult because the earthquake knocks you over, and there is no sure footing anywhere.

The people are tending to wounded survivors as best they can in the absence of any medical help. Sunkhani village needs not only medical attention. Food must urgently be flown in now. The survivors are hungry.

Future prospects

Today’s first assessment is that people will be unable to remain in Sunkhani and Sundravati during the rainy season, which has yet to commence. The entire side of the mountain is now unstable. There will be far more avalanches than usual during the coming monsoon. At places such as Sunkhani, they will have to start their lives again after the rains on whatever physically still remains of the actual land on which they used to live.

There were numerous avalanches today, and much of the land itself will disappear in the torrential downpour of the coming months. Avalanches during the rainy season are the norm. Looking at their lands today, the people of Sunkhani assess that much of the area on which they have always lived will be lost during the impending monsoon.

In their own villages, people have no food or shelter. At this moment, on the evening of the second Great Nepal Earthquake, people want to be evacuated from their villages, but where can they all go?