Hundreds gathered Monday at the ruins of an iconic tower in Kathmandu, Nepal, to mark the passing of a month since a 7.8-magnitude earthquake killed over 8,600 people in the region. The Dharahara Tower, a nine-story structure built in the nineteenth century, was among several structures brought down by the massive quake.
Residents reportedly surrounded the crumbled tower and observed a moment of silence at the exact time that the deadly quake struck the Himalayan nation on April 25 -- the worst to hit the country in 80 years -- and the national anthem was played on loudspeakers, the Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
Nina Shrestha, a 23-year-old student carrying a small Nepali flag, spoke about the historic tower, saying that it was "always the first thing" that she looked for when flying into Kathmandu. "Its collapse signifies the devastation our country has suffered," she told AFP.
The earthquake on April 25 was followed by another major tremor on May 12, which destroyed several houses already damaged by the earlier quake. The 7.3-magnitude quake, which was followed by several aftershocks, claimed over 100 lives and injured thousands others. The tremors from both quakes were felt in neighboring India where at least 17 people were killed.
“The emotional impact of the second quake has been devastating on all levels,” Virginia Pérez, chief of child protection in Nepal for Unicef, said, according to the Guardian. “It’s delaying the recovery process and people are losing faith. The geologists may just call it an aftershock, but we call it the second quake: it’s been a double quake.”
And as the monsoon season draws near and thousands remain homeless, Nepal's army and police force, along with rescue teams from several countries, have been deployed in the country to complete rescue and relief operations before the rains come.