Here in Kathmandu I’m struck by the dust. It’s everywhere and it’s choking.
It’s the dust of tens of thousands of homes which have crumbled to nothing.
The dust of the rescue effort desperately trying to save the last few lives. And of course, tragically, it’s the dust of the ashes of the dead.
There is rubble everywhere, on every street, in every neighbourhood, and in front of nearly every house. Buildings lean precariously, not yet fallen down, but no longer standing either.
I dreamed about coming to Nepal for my honeymoon. I pictured little tents set against an idyllic background: snow-capped mountains stretching away into a deep blue sky. But instead I’m here supporting an international relief effort and the tents I can see are the tents of families who have lost everything.
There is no picture postcard view for me to photograph. Instead I can see only the frenetic chaos of hundreds of injured people queuing for food to keep them alive.
Colleagues tell me this is not even the worst, and that beyond Kathmandu many villages have been wiped away completely, with nothing but putrid mud to stand as a monument to the people who lived there less than a week ago.
Despite the horrors, the Nepalese remain famously proud of their land. Yesterday, from a vantage point on a hill above a farming town just outside Kathmandu, I was surveying the damage and watching rice being distributed to a long line of people who lost their homes. There, an old man, with a walking staff and wrinkled face came up to me and wanted to know what I thought of the beautiful hills surrounding us.
Even though these same hills shook and stole from him everything he has, he still loves them, and wanted to be sure that I could see beyond the ruins of his village and appreciate the natural beauty of his country.
As I headed back to the capital, I felt so sad about what was lost, but so proud that the British Jewish community has responded in such a way that we are able to help so many people get back on their feet.