Fathers will often do everything they can for their children in times of need. Nanda, a father of four, did exactly this.
When the earthquake struck Nepal on Saturday morning, he and his family were in their shanty house in Sindhupal district, where Islamic Relief plans to soon distribute tents.
Nanda, 36, rushed inside to save his children as the building started to crack and crumble. He brought out three of his children, but when he returned for his last child Heera, just one, who was sleeping, the house collapsed around him, damaging his spine.
His wife Laxmi, 31, told experts from Islamic Relief’s Disaster Response Team that she and her husband were outside working when the earthquake, which has killed more than 6,000 people, struck.
“We were out of the room and were busy doing routine work when we felt strong jolts,” she said.
“Buildings and houses around were shaking. It was horrifying.
“Immediately, my husband rushed to the room where our children were. He managed to bring three children out of the room immediately. He was rushing into the room again to rescue the sleeping Heera when rubble from a neighbouring room fell on him.”
“There weren’t enough staff to cope”
Laxmi and Nanda’s father and brother all tried to help him walk, but Nanda could not even stand.
“We managed to reach hospital and had to wait for a whole day to get treatment,” said Laxmi. “There were a number of injured people coming to this hospital and there weren’t enough staff here to cope.”
Nanda, who is a farmer, is in the National Trauma Centre in Kathmandu. Treating him is Dr Barsha Karki, who is volunteering at the centre in the emergency. He said Nanda had a C7 spinal injury.
The spine is made of both a series of nerves that run through the bones and the vertebrae surrounding the spine. The vertebra in the neck are called cervical vertebrae, and run from C1 at the top of the neck down to C8. Cervical spinal cord injuries usually cause loss of function in both arms and legs, and people with a complete C7 injury are unable to move their legs or the trunk of their body. They are also likely to have limited use of their fingers.
As a result of his injury, it is likely that Nanda, who is the sole breadwinner in his family, will not be able to plough fields and work his land. The damage to his spine will not just affect his personal wellbeing, but also his livelihood and his family’s future.
“In the future, Nanda might need help doing routine tasks. He might be in a wheelchair for life and will not be able to do hard work,” Dr Karki confirmed.
Laxmi added: “We have lost our home and we are left with nothing. The only thing left is dust and rubble. I don’t know how we will take care of our children and how I will manage to earn living if my husband does not get fit.”
Nanda is one of the 11,000 people who have been injured in the earthquake. Many of these have lost their homes and livelihoods. Before the earthquake, a quarter of people in Nepal lived below the poverty line and the population will need significant support to try to rebuild their lives.
The number of fatalities from the earthquake continues to increase every day and overnight surpassed 6,000.
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