“It happened so suddenly”

IOM staff interview a displaced person at an open site in Kathmandu. © IOM/ Matthew Graydon

By Matthew Graydon

Pappu Tamang (being interviewed by IOM staff in the attached photo) was at home cooking on Saturday, when his house began shaking violently. “It happened so suddenly,” said Pappu. “My family and I immediately ran outside, but I remembered to stop and turn off the gas, thankfully.” Pappu hasn’t been back to his home since. He is now one of the thousands of Nepalese living in makeshift tents throughout the capital Kathmandu.

With open spaces relatively scarce in densely-populated Kathmandu, Pappu has been sheltering along with several hundred others on the lawn in front of the Office of the Vice President. Conditions are difficult, with rain falling regularly and aftershocks still shaking the city.

Even more challenging is the uncertainty of if and when Pappu and others will be able to go home. “My house wasn’t destroyed, but it’s damaged and I can’t find anyone to repair it.” While some are leaving Kathmandu for their villages in districts outside the city, Pappu’s village in Kavere district has been almost completely destroyed. “Other people here are starting to go home, but I don’t have that option,” said Pappu.

Displacement site in front of Election Commission and VP's office. © IOM/ Matthew Graydon