GUWAHATI, April 30 � Shaken and traumatized, survivors of the Nepal quake who reached their homes in Assam have harrowing tales to tell � from their providential escape from the jaws of death to the hard times endured in the aftermath of the tremor in alien territory.
Mridul Medhi, who was part of a rescue team of a city-based tour operator Yatra, which brought back 11 survivors from Kathmandu yesterday, told The Assam Tribune that total chaos marked the aftermath of the tremor, with scarcity of food and water compounding the woes of the survivors, particularly the stranded tourists.
�Our lone solace was that we could immediately take into our custody the 11 survivors who were part of a group of 26 from Guwahati. Six of the group died during the quake and we identified the bodies at the hospital morgue with the help of their relatives who accompanied us,� Medhi said.
Medhi said that cost of foodstuff and packaged water shot up overnight following the quake and they had to collect food and water by walking a distance of one kilometre every day. �We spent the night (three nights) in the bus. The Indian Embassy at Kathmandu was not cooperative, resulting in added hardship for us,� he said, adding that the inclement weather including rain and quake aftershocks made things worse for the survivors.
The team finally reached the Kakarbhita border point near the New Jalpaiguri railway station before boarding an Assam-bound train on April 28. The survivors included Rina Talukdar, Subhas Chandra Dutta, Sona Dutta, Ranjit Kumar Adhikary, Mitali Nath, Rajiv Adhikary, Bijoya Mahanta, Sarala Patowary, Banikanta Sarma, Minati Devi and Molen Chandra Nath.
All the survivors had the same harrowing ordeal to tell. �There were terrifying sounds as the earth shook and there was total chaos for hours. A trail of death and destruction left behind by the quake was visible across the entire landscape. Cracked roads, collapsed buildings and snapped communication networks made life miserable for us,� a survivor said.
People in large numbers were on the roads and in open spaces, while cracks on roads and frequent landslides and rockfalls made vehicular movement slow and hazardous.
�The aftershocks were continuing for a long time. When we reached Kathmandu we had to sleep at the car parking of our hotel as it was unsafe to remain inside the building. There was food scarcity and the communication network, too, snapped,� another survivor said.