Rajendra, who has polio, slept outside his house for several days after the earthquake in Nepal afraid of more tremors.
Country: Nepal
Category: Emergency response

46 year-old father of four Rajendra lives in Rajbiraj, Nepal, about 450 kilometres from Kathmandu. He has polio affecting both his legs and cannot stand or walk. Rajendra gets around on his hands and knees or uses a wheelchair.

On 25th April 2015, Nepal was hit by its worst earthquake in over 80 years, leaving thousands dead and causing huge devastation across the country. People with disabilities are among the most vulnerable at times of disaster and this was no exception. Rajendra gives his account of the earthquake.

"It was just another Saturday and I was sleeping inside the house. Suddenly, the ground began to shake as if everything was about to collapse. I could hear people shouting and asking everyone to run out of their houses. In the beginning, I didn't know what to do. I have never been so scared in my life... But just as I tried to rush for the door, I hit a container left on the floor and hurt myself. I somehow managed to crawl out of the house when I saw there was no one around... everyone had left for a safe, open place but me. I was the only one left behind.

It took me twenty minutes to reach there. By then, the tremors had subsided and I was almost crying... I could feel the tremors for more than a minute. After that there were several strong aftershocks in the afternoon. Like many others, I decided to sit in the open field and not enter the house at all. That night I slept in the stadium along with my children. Actually, I didn't enter the house for two full days after the deadly earthquake. There was a strong aftershock on Sunday afternoon as well.

I realized I am not like others who can run easily and save themselves. I thought I shouldn't leave the open field. Even three days later, I'm scared to go inside my house. It's only today I have gathered the courage to enter the house for a few hours. But I think I'll sleep outside tonight as well.

As I heard others shouting, I tried my best to get out of the house. But I couldn't leave the house immediately. It took me twenty minutes to crawl and reach an open field where I felt I was safe... while others had reached there within a minute.

I think the biggest challenge is our difficulty with mobility... For a moment that day, I thought I would not survive to see the next day.

Following the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal on 25th April 2015, CBM, together with their local partners ensured that emergency relief reached people with disabilities, who often struggle to access help at times of disaster.


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