One local woman is happy to be alive after surviving the deadly earthquake that hit Nepal and left thousands dead, injured and still missing.
Beverly Williams was on a three-week trek in Nepal to meet the people who supply her with fleece-lined mitts that she sells at the Red Deer Farmer’s Market.
More than 8,000 people are dead after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal on April 25th. Just yesterday another 7.3 magnitude earthquake hit near the town of Namche Bazaar, killing and injuring even more people.
During her time there Williams decided to hike in Langtang National Park. She went with her guide named Harin, a Nepali. While on the hike Williams hurt her right leg badly, so she and Har had to turn around and head back to Kathmandu.
At about noon in Nepal on April 25th, the earthquake hit the area. Williams was on a bus heading back to Kathmandu at the time.
“I was in a stupor, I didn’t know what happened. My guide was grabbing me and everyone was running out of the bus. It was very dusty – you couldn’t even see it was so dusty,” she said. “My first thought wasn’t that it was an earthquake, it was that we had gone over the cliff.”
After getting off the bus, Williams said the group was sitting on the side of the road and groups of people on motorcycles began coming around and telling them what had happened. “Everyone started walking back to Kathmandu. I am a slow walker so everyone passed and it was just my guide and I,” she said, adding they spent the first night after the earthquake in a village.
At 4:30 a.m. the next morning, Williams and her guide continued their trek.
While hiking back to Kathmandu, Williams came across another bus that was a few kilometres ahead of the one she was in. A rock about 5 ft. above the bus has ripped right through it. “I know people died there and I know that could have been my bus.
“Har’s first concern was me the whole time. After the earthquake we got even closer. We were holding hands and walking, we were linked arm and arm. We were both listening for landslides.”
Somewhere along the way, a truck picked the pair up and took them the rest of the way to Kathmandu – a day and a half after the earthquake hit.
When she returned to Kathmandu Williams said there were countless people walking around and everyone was sleeping outside because it was dangerous because of the continuous aftershocks. Medical stations were also set up along the side of the street where there were people caring for the wounded.
“I went to a school and I did sleep there for two days. While I was there I needed to contact my family, but no one could get through and all the hotels were closed. I did get a few people in the schoolyard to see if they could contact my daughter, but it wasn’t going through.”
Seeing the devastation firsthand is something that is engrained in Williams’ mind.
“(Before the earthquake) I saw the beautiful landscape, people farming on hillsides. (After the earthquake) you saw more than 75 per cent of buildings down. Everyone was in shock,” she said. “I was walking along and there was a little 80- to 90-year-old woman and she was sitting on a pail or something. I knew she has nothing.”
Williams said the need in Nepal is great and she encourages Red Deerians to donate.
Local Rotarians are raising money for shelterboxes, which include a family tent, blankets, water purification, cooking utensils, a stove, tool kit, a children’s activity pack and other items.
“It’s important for people to know where their donations are going.”
Williams is also hoping to raise money to build a new house for her guide Har, who lost everything in the earthquake as well.
“After Har had learned that he had lost his home, I was his first and only concern,” she said. “I want to give back.”
Williams is at the Red Deer Farmer’s Market with her booth, Woolen Wonders, and will be collecting donations there in hopes of rebuilding Har’s home.
For more information, visit www.shelterboxcanada.org.