Effect of the 2014 Earthquake in Nepal

The earthquake in 2014 in Nepal affected villages more that it did the city of Kathmandu.  The damage was primarily south and east of the city.  Whole villages were destroyed.  Our driver from the airport had to leave his village to find work for himself and an education for his children and his brother’s children.  Not only were the houses destroyed but so was the road to get there.  It’s a 1 1/2 hour walk now from where the road ends.  His brother remained behind to care for their elderly father who could not leave the village.

These kinds of stories are everywhere.  Not only are the villages impacted, but the population of Kathmandu has greatly increased to manage all the refugees from the countryside.  In a country with limited infrastructure, this has put a real strain on everyone.  The reduction in tourism due to this natural disaster has also affected the country as approximately 30% of Nepal’s income is from this industry.

From what we could see, tourists are coming back.  Kathmandu seemed busy to us.  Hotels, restaurants and Made in Nepal North Face gear stores are open for business.  Locals can’t help you enough. The power was on almost the whole time we were here.  Our hotel had great hot showers and others include 24 hour hot water in their promotional material.

However, the streets are dusty.  Traffic is not just crazy, but dangerous in the city and certainly on the highways.  The air is so polluted you can’t see many of the mountains that people come here to see.  We heard that mid-Sept. to the end of October is the clearest time to be here.  The air quality monitors were turned off just after we arrived because the numbers were so high.  Bring a n95-n99 mask with you.  We bought a Vogmask in Chiang Mai and it really helps.

Vogmask selfie

There is so much construction going on in the city to accommodate at the arrivals.  The villages are in a constant state of tear down and build up.  The old style of home is being replaced with more models ones in many different colors.  The rubble doesn’t seem to have anywhere to go.  There is limited machinery and equipment so most of the materials are hauled by basket and installed by hand.  It is a very time consuming process.

Here are some more pictures of the villages with a mix of new and old structures, including the people doing the work.  We feel so blessed to not have this be our life.