On Sunday evening, while my father and I were leaving from the factory, the clouds had covered all sky and then there was lighting with no sound; I know, this seemed really weird but i let that thought go being no expert myself. We reached home and i took to the bathroom. While i was taking a bath i could hear loud banging coming from the roof. I couldn’t make anything of it. I came out and went to the balcony. It was raining hails like anything. The hails were banging the roof and the road…thud thud thud…The hails as big as stones fell so hard that it bounced a feet after touching the asphalt. It was so dense i couldn’t see buildings but only dispersed light rays coming from them. And then the wind picked up and took all the lights away with it. It was pitch dark and nobody to be seen.
Anyway, i had a missed call from our operator at the factory and he sounded helpless and beat; he says,’all is gone, Sir, nothings left.’ I was stupefied and completely blank. The network was so bad we couldn’t carry on the conversation. Following, that my father and i called other staff to know the situation and all of them sounded completely beat and helpless, waiting for instructions. We got to know that the tall concrete electric poles at the entrance had fallen into two pieces, one piece fell on the roof of the mandir in our compound. The tinned roof sheds in both the plants had blown away leaving the place completely naked with poles running from one wall to the other.
All this information was enough to get us tensed out of our minds. We couldn’t remain patient and stay put but the storm was still brewing outside. We waited till it softened and left the house on a bike prepared with torches, water, raincoats and portable battery. We had just reached the clock tower when the hails started falling again only, this time it hit me on my head. We had only one helmet and since my father was riding he was wearing it. We turned around from there and returned home. The storm wouldn’t let us leave after that until around 11.30, we again took the bike and left for the factory. All the way, it seemed calm, the surrounding didn’t feel like it was hit by any kind of strorm, especially from what scale we heard from our staff at the factory although there were several sirens of police cars and ambulance ahead of us. But as we were nearing our place, slowly the images rolled and we could see how devastating the situation really was. On both sides of the highway tall electric poles were bent or fallen, we saw a car fallen into a ditch and several buses overturned and all glasses shattered. It was dark so not much could be made out but whatever we could see it seemed like with the light in the morning we are going to be astonished with the damage. The road to the factory was blocked by the electric wires from the fallen poles so we parked our bikes outside, jumped over the wires and went inside. We took a round of our compound with torches in our hands to see what we had heard. The place was in ruins. The boundary walls had fallen, entires roofs blown away and electric poles destroyed. There wasn’t anything that wasn’t touched by the storm and there was nothing to be done in that dark. We left the factory and were quite on the ride all the way back home. We were waiting for the first light in the morning to head back and what we saw after i will let the pictures talk.
The entire industrial belt of Parwanipur, one of Nepal’s most important, has been severely affected; leaving all mills and factories dysfunctional. The electricity board is so ill-equipped that it could take almost one month to get the lines running for industrial purposes.
People that were affected were mostly in the villages who lived in shelters that were made of straw, wood and mud. There are incidents of even concrete blocks cracking. So, i decided to go and visit a nearby village that i heard was worst hit. While i walked around under the sun, people were generally jolly. Some were busy with their daily routines, groups of old men sat on their porches discussing the governments steps in supporting the storm hit, while children were running around naked. There were men working on electric poles trying to get them running while the army was leaving the village walking towards the main highway. I saw mostly, the roofs of houses were completely blown away while to a large extent the structure itself was intact.
There was a camp where people were served meals and i also saw a policeman speaking to each house owners about the damage and noting it down; probably for governmental work.