12 May 2015: With the aim to bring an additional load of food of more than 2 tons to the remote village of Leptung in the Dolakha district combined with an observation trip to the Janajyoti secondary school, we leave Kathmandu in the early morning. An 8 to 9-hour trip of 185 km expects us. The first part, we take the same road that a few weeks before when we started from Kathmandu to go to the Tibetan border for our expeditions…strange feeling.
Due to the earthquake of 25 April 2015, the Chinese mountaineering associations that are competent to deliver the climbing permits have decided to stop all expeditions for this season.
After more than 120 km, we stop in a small village for a short lunch break. The local people of that village are busy in trying to find some of their belongings in the middle of their collapsed houses, or in collecting the remain wood and other useful parts of their broken house that they might use to rebuilt the new one before the coming monsoon.
Everything happens suddenly so quickly…
A strong noise, lots of dust and the road flotting in the air…it is almost impossible to run away the feeling of staying on waves being so strong…And where to run again, the dust of some further parts of houses that just collapsed besides us avoids us to see clearly if something else could fall down on our heads…The local people being in total panic, we are surrounded by screams until the shakes stop for a while but before the two big next earthaquakes…The communication tower gets into fire, the phone connection cracks down…Helicopters are suddenly flying above us, whereas injuried people are still around us.
In total we are experiencing three strong earthquakes (magnitude of 7.3, 6.4 and 5.8), in the middle of their epicentres.
We do not take the risk to check whether and when the roads is cleared up, since some landslides and permanent rock fallings continue to happen due to the numerous aftershakes. We can reach a plateau at 2850 mètres above sea level (that would be so beautiful in normal circumstances) and settle the tents we have with us for the night. We are lucky to eat some local food among other people who remain at the same place as us.
13 May: Early in the morning, we hear that thanks to the local people who still have the courage to carry on, assisted by some international help troups that came to Nepal after the first earthquake of 25 April 2015, the main road to Kathmandu is now open again. The road to go to our destination remains however blocked.
We are lucky that we can manage to handhover our loads to the headteacher of the school where we were supposed to go. He will be in charge to provide us with a report of the distribution among the village people.
On our way back to Kathmandu, we observe the destruction of some houses that where in a good shape on our way up and scary landslides/rock falling that are still blocking the road in some of its parts.
What an adventure!
People are again sleeping outside in Kathmandu, as we will do again…But most of the Nepali try as soon after the shock has passed to react and go on with the reconstruction of their houses.