Update from Pokhara

Sent in by Cris, a surgeon and Interserve On Tracker working in UMN’s Tansen hospital. She and her family were attending a conference in Pokhara at the time of the quake.

The earthquake was yesterday just before lunch, when we were just finishing our retreat program for the morning. The land roared for 30sec or so and rocked like a boat in bad weather. We grabbed the kids and got out of the building into the courtyard.

There was no damage here in Pokhara. I have seen no walls down. A couple of roof tiles fell off the roof, but that was it. The epicentre was halfway between Pokhara and Kathmandu. Tansen is further to the west and we are told there was no damage there either.

None of the people at the conference who live in Kathmandu have found anyone with significant house damage or injury. Both the hospitals and all our staff are fine.

Since then we have felt at least eight aftershocks. Two have been stronger than 6.0. Obviously there has been no further damage, but the aftershocks are very unnerving. We know intellectually that these are smaller quakes, but each one unnerves the kids quite considerably.

We are all going back to Tansen tomorrow (Monday) at 8am, which is about lunchtime or just after for you. The road is open and we will get back to work. We have four doctors going to regional areas nearer the quake to help out. At the moment they haven’t asked for surgeons, but I will go if they need someone. It is likely we will send a group of doctors once we have everyone back home. We are planning to send only small groups of specifically requested staff when needed.

Finally, Internet and phone lines are very patchy. Kathmandu has power out as a regular thing, but it was completely off for at least 24hours. We are using our phones to keep in touch (3G), but there’s lots of time we can’t get a signal at all.

Hope you are all well and please be reassured that most of Nepal is not experiencing devastation. There is no doubt the country will be shattered, just because the poverty is so extreme. However, we are very safe, with electricity, water etc, and will likely be doing our regular work, unless we are called out to help somewhere. We appreciate your thoughts and prayers, and we will keep in touch as much as we can.