SA rescuers find destruction at Nepal village

2015-05-03 12:30
(Schalk van der Merwe, Gift of the Givers)

(Schalk van der Merwe, Gift of the Givers)

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Kathmandu - South African rescuers told of scenes of “sheer destruction” on their return from a remote village near the Tibetan border on Sunday.

The 7.8 magnitude quake, which rocked Nepal last Saturday, triggered landslides which cut off outlying areas from the capital of
Kathmandu.

A team of Gift of the Givers rescue technicians on Saturday travelled to the village of Khushibu using unstable single-track roads.  The 60km journey took over six hours.

Most of the buildings in the rural hamlet were either razed or damaged beyond repair.

Rescuer Travis Trouwer said that trip overland to the village was dangerous.

“The road was barely wide enough to get a car through, but there were two lanes of traffic the entire journey, with massive drop-offs from the mountain road on one side. Often the wheels of the vehicle were on the very edge of the road,” he said.

“We went to the area because villages in the area were badly damaged. On the way there, there was a landslide that had completely blocked the road and we worked with search and rescue teams from the Netherlands and the United Kingdom to clear the road.  

“A river runs through the village and the buildings are constructed flush with the river bank. There was a body that was floating in the river and looked like the person’s foot was trapped in the rocks,” he said.

His colleague Schalk van der Merwe said there was “absolute devastation”.

(Photo: Schalk van der Merwe, Gift of the Givers)

“Think of Maseru on a busy day with all the buildings collapsed. That is exactly what it looked like. The buildings were completely
destroyed and resembled a pile of stones.

“If I had to contextualise what we saw and use movie references, it would be the destruction of Saving Private Ryan in the landscape of Lord of the Rings,” Van der Merwe said.

- News24's Jeff Wicks is in Kathmandu courtesy of Gift of the Givers.

Read more on:    nepal

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