On April 25, 2015, Nepal experienced its most powerful earthquake in over 81 years. Measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale with its epicenter in Baarpaak, Gorkha, it proved catastrophic and fatal as it claimed more than six thousand lives and billions of property damage. Furthermore, the death toll continues to rise as more of the rescue teams make their way into the most affected rural villages in Nepal. More than nine thousand have been injured and it is estimated that the earthquake has affected over 8 million people in 39 districts. That is too much to take for a poor country like ours.
It has been documented that Nepal is known for its immense hospitality throughout the world. Maybe it is one of the reasons why we have been getting so much help from countries across the globe. But among all this scenario, there is something subtle that we have neglected-the urgency to act ourselves.
Days after the disaster, most of us have been posting/sharing Facebook statuses about the pictures/videos taken by the eyewitnesses. It is fair to say that only a minority have utilized the social media in the best way possible by sharing links to authentic donation campaigns carried out by trusted agencies. It mirrors the passive involvement from folks who boast of their ambitious ideas/plans to develop Nepal.
Here’s a video from my friend Achyut Gautam that summarizes my opinions.
This is not what we expect from our youth. We must be out there involved in rescue efforts in any way possible. Because that is what humanity truly is. It is not about staying in your homes worrying that another aftershock greater than the main one would come. Had it been the case, it would be called foreshock. I understand that fear of earthquakes has impregnated the minds of people who have experienced the worst scenario possible. And it’s fine. I am not blaming them. But what I dislike is people complaining that the government didn’t reach them at 1200hrs on April 25. Nowhere in the world have we seen examples of government reaching the disaster area one minute after the incident. It takes time and we must admit that. But until help arrives, it is our duty to help each other because that is what we have been living for. A testament to humanity. Social deeds in action. Proof that people who were left unscathed can do something for people in need.
It is hard to admit but we are largely at fault. No one can predict earthquakes. It is a universal fact. But it is also true that once you have identified yourselves as uninjured, it becomes your duty to search for survivors. Just take the next step. It is natural to worry for 72 hours after the earthquake, and I know that news from our family gets a top priority. I welcome this truth. Even I would be tempted to stay back and let the rescue teams do their jobs. But I wouldn’t lament at the poor design of buildings and condemn that the present government’s efforts were lackadaisical. I would act and that is what I humbly request anyone reading this.
There is a reason behind all this. Seismologists have hypothesised that major earthquakes in Nepal occur every seventy to eighty years. They don’t know the reason behind this but with the history of earthquakes it just seems true. That means we will experience at least one major earthquake in a lifetime. And we have just experienced that.
When we pass four or five decades of our lives, we should tell stories of how we rescued survivors even after two or three days after the disaster and not be questioned on our indifferent attitude towards the victims when we just surfed the internet watching others getting involved, directly or indirectly. That will prove decisive as you just taught the value of humanity from your experiences. Your decision now largely impacts your future, more precisely your outlook of life.
I request you all to make a difference in the lives of these people. You don’t need to be at the site. You can collect relief materials in your area and hand it over to the Red Cross. You don’t need to collect money when you can’t convince the strangers to do so. You can volunteer at trusted agencies and request them to let you get involved in any ways possible. You don’t need to complain whenever you watch news reports claiming that government’s efforts were not enough. You need to get out of your comfort zone and make an impact. Trust me, that will be the most memorable experience of your life. Even though the nation doesn’t recognize your efforts with medals, your deeds will have forever been engraved in the hearts of the people you have saved. You will leave a legacy and be proud when you reminisce this account. A sense of belonging encapsulates your soul. And prove that in dire times, your humanity attitude didn’t fade out. It stood strong. You passed the test.
I plead all those who are reading this to contribute in any ways possible. Because you are lucky to survive the disaster. You are few people who have an access to the internet. But you are equivalent to many people who can get out and do something. Something that will give meaning to the lives of those who survived the disaster. We have witnessed the worst disaster of our lives. We have to stay strong. We must build what we once cherished and it is only possible when we all get out and rebuild this great nation of ours.
Remember, IT’S EITHER NOW OR NEVER!!