When the earthquake shook Nepal and everyone ran outside their homes for shelter and safety, Rajendra was left behind. He has polio which is a disease that affects both his legs to an extent that he cannot stand or walk. Filled with agony he managed to crawl to a safe and open place. He is still terrified of aftershocks and scared to stay in his hut for long.
Rajendra lives with his family in a makeshift mud hut in the space behind the decrepit stadium in Rajbiraj – about 450 kilometres from Kathmandu. Rajendra has poliomyelitis affecting both his legs and has never received treatment. He works as a daily wage labourer in a local restaurant, and his wage is the only source of income to sustain a family of four members.
Rajendra cannot stand or walk on his legs so he goes on his hands and knees to move around the community. Occasionally, he uses a wheelchair distributed by a local Disabled Person’s Organisation (DPO), to go around the town.
“It was just another Saturday and I was sleeping inside the house. Suddenly, the ground began to shake as if everything was about to collapse.
I could hear people shouting and asking everyone to run out of their houses.
In the beginning, I didn’t know what to do. I have never been so scared in my life… But just as I tried to rush for the door, I hit a container left on the floor and hurt myself. I somehow managed to crawl out of the house when I saw there was no one around… everyone had left for a safe, open place but me. I was the only one left behind…
It took me twenty minutes to reach there. By then, the tremors had subsided and I was almost crying… I could feel the tremors for more than a minute… After that there were several strong aftershocks in the afternoon. Like many others, I decided to sit in the open field and not enter the house at all.
That night I slept in the stadium along with my children. Actually, I didn’t enter the house for two full days after the deadly earthquake. There was a strong aftershock on Sunday afternoon as well.
I realized I am not like others who can run easily and save themselves. I thought I shouldn’t leave the open field. Even three days later, I’m scared to go inside my house. It’s only today I have gathered the courage to enter the house for a few hours. But I think I’ll sleep outside tonight as well.”
People with disabilities face major challenges in emergency situations like the earthquake in Nepal. A disability can greatly affect a person’s access to safety as they are mostly limited in their mobility.
We are on the ground in Nepal and to ensure that people with disabilities are not left behind. People with disabilities urgently need help, please donate today and give hope to the most vulnerable people in disaster situations.