Nepal earthquake: Not many deaths but fear haunts Pokhara

It has been a week of agony and pain in Nepal.

Pokhara: It has been a week of agony and pain in Nepal.

While tourist hotspot Pokhara escaped the brunt of the 7.9 temblor, most people remain scared.

As one proceeds to Pokhara off the highway from Munglin, worried faces are a normal sight.

People at roadside eateries bite into `sekhua` - a dried meat dish - and animatedly discuss the April 25 earthquake that has claimed thousands of lives in Nepal.

While this area didn`t see too many deaths or destruction, they know the suffering that has enveloped Nepal.

People who have come home from Kathmandu are sought out to know what really happened in the capital.

"Never seen such devastation," says Binoy Ram, a 57-year-old who has returned from Kathmandu where he worked as a dishwasher at a restaurant, recalling how buildings came crumbling down.

Sudeep, who studies engineering in a private college in Bharatpur, is fighting hard to control his tears.

He lost his aunt in Gorkha district. Others in the family are injured. For now, an open space with a plastic sheet over their heads is their home.

Hari Basnet nurses an injury in an eye but refuses to discuss the disaster. With a wave of his hand, he dismisses requests for an interview, blankly looking at the blue sky.

Neighbours say the daily wage earner lost his small hutment and is unaware of his family`s whereabouts. Some think they are buried in the rubble, others hope they are only lost for some time.

Kalidas Dhungana, hailing from Baglung, close to the quake`s epicentre, has lost all his savings - and the house.

"Seeing so many deaths gives you a sinking feeling," he says.

A local guide says Pokhra town has been untouched by the calamity. Police confirm the deaths of only a dozen people. But the toll may be high in the areas surrounding the town.

Busloads of people are coming from Kathmandu in the hope they will be safer here.

There is speculation of more temblors. Intermittent rains are adding to the scare.

Not everyone is willing to open up about the quake. Sad times, sighs an elderly lady, Chumpa Navbani, who is seated under an aged Banyan tree on a cracked cement platform.

A young boy, Anil, says the woman is her grandmother and that she is worried as the boy`s father was untraceable after the earthquake. He was a help at a guest house in Turikhel in Kathmandu.

Nepal`s pain, it seems, is unending.