As Nepal was whimpering in the massive April 25 earthquake, several stories and rumors began to surface. As someone with a first-hand experience of the initial shock and the numerous aftershocks that followed, I was extremely displeased to hear people say/do those things. In the wake of a natural calamity and devastation, people started making speculations, lost common sense and also tried to unknowingly harm others with their actions.
The Dharahara Tower of Kathmandu (203 feet) leveled by the earthquake.
Here are ten events that happened in Nepal right after the 7.8 M earthquake that you probably wouldn’t want to hear (if you love people, that is).
1. Almost 9,000 people lost lives in the Nepal earthquake
Photo by author
As of May 20 evening, 8,624 people have died and 21,777 have suffered injuries. This does not include 276 Nepalese citizens and 108 foreigners who are still missing since the deadly April 25 quake. According to Nepal Police, 6,048 of those injured have still not recovered and are still receiving treatment in various hospitals throughout Nepal.
The quake was so strong that it devastated a huge gate in a matter of seconds. See the CCTV footage below.
2. Christian missionaries started cashing in to sell Jesus
In the thick of the catastrophic tremor, hundreds of missionaries tweeted about Gospel and implied that this quake was a result of Nepalese people not following Christianity. It was also outrageous because this group of hundreds of missionaries includes big organizations and people with a big following, who could not only “spread the poison”, but also indirectly shame other religions.
I learn in Nepal Christianity is 1.3% Islam is 30% the rest are Hindus ….. A life without Christ is full of Crises
— read one of the several hundreds of these tweets.
Although the majority of Nepalese follow Hinduism, Nepal is no longer a Hindu country. Every religion is equal in the eyes of Government of Nepal. To suggest one religion is superior to another (in the wake of the quake or not) is a crime. Jesus may be “coming soon” for the victims, but that is the last thing Nepalese people want(ed).
3. Rumors of a bigger earthquake coming in Nepal went viral (physically)
No social media was necessary. Just minutes after the initial shock, my family and our neighbors went to a nearby open garden to be safe. The shock waves wouldn’t stop. It wouldn’t have been even 5 minutes past the last shake that we would feel another equally big shock.
In this chaotic moment, what surfaced was a rumor of a more devastating earthquake. Nepal had not experienced a major quake in the past 81 years, and we had thought the worst was over. With no internet, no electricity and no mobile phone network, our little knowledge did nothing but made us believe this rumor (mildly). I, personally, had almost no knowledge of how earthquakes worked. But I wasn’t the one to give up and start crying. I had to stay cautious. And not go with the rumors.
Even after a full week, people were still spreading rumors and making speculations about a bigger earthquake.
BBC has said there is another quake coming at 8 PM!
NASA has warned not to stay in the house. Another bigger earthquake is coming tonight!
Poor Nepalese – especially older and uneducated ones, started freaking out over this. The names “BBC” and “NASA” was enough to make them lose their mind. Little did everyone know that NO ONE can EVER forecast an earthquake, let alone its magnitude and intensity.
4. “The whole of Kathmandu was going to sink”
At an altitude of 4,390 feet above the mean sea level (AMSL), Kathmandu is the 16th highest altitude national capital. The bowl-shaped Kathmandu valley is believed to be on a single slab of a big rocky mountain. Kathmandu has a tremendous variation in altitude inside the city itself with numerous highs and lows in terrain.
And I can’t figure out if it is a natural instinct of humans, but they always try to speculate the worst thing ever.
This is the doom. Kathmandu will now sink and slam into the seas!
Everyone was talking about an apocalypse and what was shown in the movie 2012. However, the reality was exactly the opposite. The earthquake did not slam Kathmandu to sea, but, in fact, rose it. The great earthquake lifted Kathmandu up almost one meter (3 feet). The altitude of Kathmandu has now been revised to 1338.80 meters from the initial 1338 meters.
5. Rumor of a Volcano – “Volcano almost erupted in Kathmandu”
Photo from Pixabay
Less educated people started speculating that earthquakes occur just before a volcano is going to erupt. In some cases, it is true, but only if there is a volcanic fault. Nepal has ZERO.
This is nature’s fury. What follows is a deadly volcano that will swallow whole Nepal!
A massive volcano had erupted in Chile just hours before the earthquake in Nepal on April 25, and this rumor took a serious toll on the psychology of people. People went inside their houses to grab their monies, jewelry, citizenship certificates and brought them to their temporary shelters so that they would at least have something if such rumor came true. Even today, after almost a month, few older citizens are still convinced that this will end in a volcano.
6. Cruel thieves looted on innocent people
As the earthquake survivors made preparations to make temporary shelters and camp in open spaces, thieves and burglars took advantage of this situation and stole from many houses. Since entire neighborhoods were abandoned and a majority of the police force was busy in recovering stranded people from the debris, this was an opportunity for them.
“Crisis is an opportunity” — this saying was made evident in this chaos, and history repeated itself after a similar destruction in Haiti in 2010.
7. The aftershocks are still coming and are severe
A temple in Bhaktapur Durbar Square, destroyed by the earthquake
Photo by author
A record 364 aftershocks over M4.0 have been felt so far, with 38 violent aftershocks within 12 hours of the initial shock. A massive 6.9M aftershock jolted entire Nepal after 25 hours. According to US Geological Survey, there is still a probability of a big aftershock (about 1 in 200), but its probability will decline day-by-day. After 18 days of the initial 7.8M quake, Nepal was rattled with another 7.3M aftershock on May 12.
When the shock waves come, it seems as if someone is shooting the house with missiles. Sounds of machine gun firing vibrate the ears and the whole body goes numb. So far, two aftershocks of 4.2M and 4.4M have occurred in the capital Kathmandu as epicenter.
As someone who has gone through all these experiences and events, I can now tell others what nightmares are made of. There are far less-fortunate people who have had their houses leveled, their families dead and their happiness snatched away from them in an instant. As a human, I wouldn’t wish something like this to even my worst enemy.