Normalcy returning to quake-hit Kathmandu

ArrayKathmandu (IANS) Normalcy appeared to be returning here finally over a week after a devastating 7.9 magnitude earthquake rocked Nepal, leaving over 6,000 killed and more than 10,000 injured in this Himalayan nation.

But aftershocks were still keeping many people outside their houses.

It was a bright sunny day in Kathmandu on Friday, with many vehicles plying on the roads in comparison to earlier days. Many foreign tourists were also seen roaming on the roads which was not the case until Thursday.

People have also started opening their shops like general stores or restaurants at some places here. Government staff was also noticed repairing the damaged electricity poles and the landline phones have turned operational in different localities.

But fear of quake and its devastation’s recurrence is still persisting in the public mindset.

Lakshman Adhikari, 35, manager at a Dudh Sagar sweet shop, said: “It seems to be normal but I fear an earthquake.”

Some people said they are finding it very difficult to have a sound sleep, as the scary experience of last week’s quake and its aftershocks has overwhelmed their minds. They are not feeling completely relaxed.

Tara Bhattarai, 39, a working woman, said: “Whenever I feel like going to sleep, I feel my bed is shaking.”

A feeling of shaking earth or beds or destroyed surroundings appear to have become a general phenomena with almost everyone here.

“I haven’t had a sound sleep ever since Saturday (when the earthquake hit Nepal). I have my visa for the US ready and if the quake strikes again, I will fly to the US,” said a woman.

But Swasthani Koirala, 40, a woman auto-rickshaw driver, is happy that she is now getting passengers to ferry from one place to another and is herself not feeling very much afraid.

“Till yesterday I was hardly getting two trips (of 6-8 passengers for about 16 km) and today I have managed three trips till the afternoon… now I am getting passengers.”

Meanwhile, six days after the quake jolted this Himalayan nation, the general public is still appreciating the Indian government’s prompt response, especially of India’s National Disaster Response Force, in saving their lives.