By Claire Egan
A 4.4 magnitude aftershock hit Nepal Wednesday only weeks after an earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale devastated the country.
Amar Barn, a dual Australian and British citizen and former Murdoch University student, who arrived in Nepal three days before the first earthquake struck, says the latest aftershock was terrifying.
“It was like a big thump up and down and everybody ran out of the building. It’s tiring and psychologically draining at the moment,” she says.
“People are more fearful, I myself am more fearful now than I was then after seeing the destruction that it can do.”
Amar had been volunteering at schools in India when she decided to travel to Nepal before coming back to Perth.
After the first earthquake hit she stayed in Nepal and has been volunteering in trauma centres ever since.
“I can’t speak for everyone but I think the second earthquake really took people by surprise because now everybody has seen the damage and destruction and death, people know what can happen now so I think it’s worse than the first one.”
“It’s heartbreaking because when the second earthquake happened people couldn’t move from their beds, they were already damaged and hurt from the first one. Their legs are in casts, some of them have their arms in casts, some of them are attached to machinery and can’t run.”
Amar said it’s a different reality in Nepal at the moment and the earthquakes have highlighted how poor the government hospitals are.
“People are frustrated with their government, they don’t feel like they are getting the aid as quickly and are being helped as much as they could,” she says.
“Certain international organisations are dropping rice from helicopters and a lot of the time the bags are not strong enough and are splitting and the people are having to gather the rice from the mud.”
Antony Balmain, the Media and Communications Advisor at the Red Cross says this is the deadliest disaster Nepal has ever faced, with more than 8,500 dead and 8 million affected – a staggering toll on a small country.
“The Red Cross is providing a broad range of aid to help those affected by the earthquakes, including urgently needed shelter materials, food, water and help to restore access to safe water supplies. Sanitation facilities have also been damaged which is a priority for us to help people have access to sanitation facilities,” says Mr Balmain.
“A big focus for the Red Cross is providing personal support to tens of thousands of people who have been traumatised by the earthquake, with many living in fear day by day.”
“There are more than 6,500 local Red Cross volunteers working in all of the affected areas to help their communities recover in the long term,” he says.
Experience the devastation in Nepal on the link below. Photos are courtesy of Amar Barn and Nepall11 Radio.