A voluntary worker who travelled to Nepal to help the relief effort has described the chaos after a second earthquake hit the country.
John Kimbrey, from Rippingale, arrived in the devastated country on Thursday last week. He was working for Nepal in Need, a charity responding to the disaster, having spent time in the country in January.
John and other volunteers aimed to help the outlying villages west of Katmandu by providing tents, sleeping bags, food and cash to families who lost everything in the 7.8-magnitude earthquake on April 25.
They managed to set up meetings with the UN World Food Programme and the Mission Aviation Fellowship to identify suitable transport and helicopter support.
But on Tuesday the relief mission was cut short by a second earthquake.
John and his team were driving back to capital city Kathmandu having taken food, shelter and sanitation to isolated villages. In an e-mail to fellow Rippingale resident Jim Latham he wrote: “We entered the outskirts of Kathmandu to be met by a violent earthquake.
The earthquake we experienced yesterday killed a further 48 people and can only hinder progress. Most people don’t appear to have a lot and now many have much less.John Kimbrey
“It clearly sent the capital into panic as traffic stopped and people were pouring from the buildings into the road, calling for friends and family.
“We got out of the jeep and saw down the road a building collapse so we ran down to offer assistance if needed. Thankfully no one appeared hurt. The next hour or so became a manic time in the streets, packed full of people, cars and motorbikes all seemingly going somewhere. Businesses closed up instantly and life was for the moment chaotic.”
John returned to his hotel and after a night interrupted by aftershocks decided to cut his trip short and return home.
He was sad to depart the country he first visited in January for a trek in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care. John set out to help the charity after his wife Hazel died of cancer last year, and he left a memorial to Hazel on the slopes of Mount Everest.
Summing up his latest trip he wrote: “Returning again under such different circumstances has opened my eyes to the true Nepal and the difficulties this country faces. My emotions have been tested this week and on more than one occasion I have had to bite my lip.
“The earthquake we experienced yesterday killed a further 48 people and can only hinder progress. Most people don’t appear to have a lot and now many have much less. Insurance is non-existent here and they have to build everything from scratch without any financial support of any kind.
“It was heart-wrenching to see them trying to salvage the bricks and timber from the pile of rubble that was once there house and pull their memories from the dust.”
Nepal in Need runs three health posts in eastern Nepal and is taking aid to those worst affected by the earthquake. Visit nepalinneed.org to donate.
Former Ketton resident Peter Francon is also helping the relief effort in Nepal. Anyone who wants to help can transfer money through PayPal, using Peter’s address, Peter@freespiritadventure.com, and the reference #NepalEarthquake.