'It’s a huge setback:' Calgary aid worker in Nepal on second quake (May 12, 2015)

Written by Annalise Klingbeil

Published by Calgary Herald on Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Bruce Piercey (left) speaks with other Samaritan’s Purse staffers in Kathmandu, Nepal, before the country was hit by a second earthquake on May 12, 2015.

Calgarian Bruce Piercey thought it was just another aftershock.

But when he saw the faces of the children and mothers who surrounded him, and heard their screams and cries, he realized it was much more.

A fresh 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck a remote mountainous region of Nepal early Tuesday afternoon, killing dozens of people, triggering landslides, and collapsing buildings weakened by last month’s massive 7.8-magnitude quake that killed thousands.

Piercey, Samaritan’s Purse Canada Asia Projects Director, was at the Samaritan’s Purse patient care centre in Katmandu when the second earthquake struck.

“I will never forgot the looks of fear on the mother and children today. I’ll remember that as long as I live,” Piercey said from Kathmandu on Tuesday.

The centre was busy with mothers and their children from remote regions of Nepal seeking medical treatment, and Piercey was visiting to see how victims were recovering since the April 25 quake.

Piercey and his Samaritan Purse colleagues had just received a tour of the earthquake-resistant building, and were sitting down, sipping water, and discussing how the building had fared in the first quake when the ground began to shake around 1 p.m. local time Tuesday afternoon.

“The couch I was on started rocking back and forth quite violently,” Piercey said.

For more than a minute, the building swayed as people screamed and cried.

“It’s really something when the earth shakes like that. It’s so disorienting,” Piercey said.

Piercey described the second quake as a fresh trauma for thousands of Nepalese trying to recover from April’s disaster.

“It’s a huge setback. People were just starting to get back to normal,” said Piercey, who arrived in Nepal two days after the first earthquake.

“It means more work. The affected area has increased…The number of people who need supplies has increased.”

The building Piercey was in is located approximately 80 to 90 kilometres from the epicentre of Tuesday’s earthquake, and a Samaritan’s Purse team was stationed about 10 kilometres from the second quake’s epicentre, Piercey said.

“They’re stuck out there tonight. They’re staying put because landslides have blocked the road,” he said.

Piercey said Samaritan’s Purse will increase the number of staff they have on the ground in Nepal as the country attempts to recover from this second disaster.

“People were just starting to rebuild their lives,” he said.

For more information and to make a donation, visit the Samaritan’s Purse website.

Read more: http://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/its-a-huge-setback-calgary-aid-worker-in-nepal-on-second-quake

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