"A Terrifying Experience": Firsthand Report from Nepal

May 12, 2015

UNICEF's Kent Page, on the ground in Kathmandu, describes the moment when a second major earthquake hit Nepal.

 

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UNICEF's Kent Page was visiting a school in Kathmandu when a 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck, the second major earthquake to hit Nepal in less than three weeks:

"Today’s earthquake struck while I was with a Reuters television crew while we were conducting a school damage and safety assessment with Government of Nepal engineers.

A Reuters TV cameraman was with us filming the assessment of the schools and we had visited two schools already and were just in the middle of our third school assessment when the earthquake struck.  

We all thought the buildings around us were going to collapse.

We were all inside the school building at the time when there was a loud noise as the building started violently shaking.  It took a second or two to realize what was happening but then we ran for the door.

We gathered quickly outside in a small courtyard and the violent shaking continued and didn’t stop for perhaps a minute, but it seemed much longer.  

We all thought the buildings around us were going to collapse and gathered in the center of the small courtyard in a kind of semi-circle.  

The Reuters TV cameraman continued filming throughout and is filing the story now. 

Fortunately the earthquake finally ended – it is a terrifying experience – and the buildings did not fall down. 

Nepal Earthquake May 12: People gather in open spaces for safety after a second major quake rocks Nepal.Seconds after the earthquake, people gather in open spaces for safety. (c) UNICEF/kpage

Everyone was safe and accounted for, though of course shaken. 

I conducted two interviews in the courtyard with Reuters and then we went back to the school we had been to previously by foot because we had met some children there. 

While walking a follow-up aftershock happened and fortunately, they had left the school before the earthquake hit and we believe they are all safe.  

On the way back to the UNICEF Nepal office the streets were filled with people – everyone is out of doors.  

Everyone was safe and accounted for, though of course shaken.

We know that all UNICEF staff in Nepal are safe and accounted for but of course we are very concerned about the impact of this second earthquake in just over two weeks on the children of Nepal, particularly on their psychosocial well-being. 

Going through an earthquake is a terrifying experience for anyone, and perhaps more particularly children.

UNICEF continues to work around the clock to support 1.7 million children affected now by two earthquakes in Nepal through our emergency health, nutrition, child protection, water, sanitation and education. 

We thank everyone who has supported UNICEF’s work in Nepal – there is still a lot of work to do here for the Nepali children."

Children need help

UNICEF is working to meet the immediate needs of 1.7 million children. 

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