After covering an arduous 3,000-kilometer journey and returning to his village on a Monday evening, Uday Kami had an inkling that something was wrong, despite his family not explicitly communicating the news. He explained, “From the tone of people who called me, I sensed something really bad had happened.” Kami had hastily made his way back from Malaysia, where he worked as a loader at a port, prompted by a distressing phone call from his neighbors and extended family.
Following the catastrophic earthquake that rocked Nepal on a Friday night, every residence in his village, Kolchour, situated under Bheri municipality, had endured significant losses. Kami’s entire family, including his wife Januka Shonar (37), daughters Sharmila (13) and Anjalika (9), son Ujjwal (4), and mother Astha Kumari (61), tragically perished, leaving his home in ruins.
“I have lost everyone and everything,” expressed a grieving Kami. “God didn’t leave anyone for me to grieve with.”
Just three months earlier, Kami had secured employment in Malaysia, borrowing approximately Rs 10 lakh for travel expenses and home repairs before his departure. Now, all his belongings lay buried under the debris. He pondered, “I didn’t anticipate losing everyone; I no longer have the will to continue living.”
His only surviving family member was his brother Mohan, who also lost his 11-year-old daughter Neerita in the earthquake. Their sister, Lalmati, mourned the loss of her eight-year-old daughter Bisnu Tirwa. In total, the family had lost seven members.
On Tuesday, they gathered together to mourn their collective loss.
In the neighboring village of Rawatgaon, similar stories of grief unfolded. In a makeshift tent, neighbors mourned the loss of a mother-son duo, while their surviving family members received treatment at a hospital in Bheri. Framed photographs of Khiuri Rawat (70) and her son Kali Bahadur Rawat (40) served as a poignant tribute to their memory.
Deep within the heart of Kolchour village, residents expressed their frustration over the absence of aid reaching them. Bishnu Vikas, who had traveled from Chandigarh to celebrate Diwali in Nepal, lamented, “People providing aid are delivering it to the villages and areas with road connections, but here, no aid has reached us.”
Sri Jung, a 23-year-old student, shared a similar predicament, saying, “We have been left to fend for ourselves. We are sleeping in tents because someone mentioned the possibility of another earthquake within five days. No relief has reached us, as one has to trek uphill.”
However, authorities maintained that relief supplies were reaching even the most remote corners of Nepal. Harish Chandra Sharma, Assistant Chief District Officer for Jajarkot in Karnali Province, asserted, “We have been working diligently for three days. Though it’s been challenging, rescue and relief efforts are more coordinated this time.”