Unusual

101-year-old surprised to survive second Nepal quake

KATHMANDU: When his home collapsed and a large stone landed on his chest, the 101-year-old Nepalese farmer who had survived a massive quake eight decades earlier thought his time was up.

Funchu Tamang was airlifted to safety on Saturday with injuries to his chest, leg and hand, a week after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake ripped through Nepal, killing more than 7,300 people in the worst disaster to strike the Himalayan nation in more than 80 years.

As rocks thundered down the hills surrounding his village in Nuwakot district, some 80 kilometres (50 miles) northwest of Kathmandu, his house fell down, sending stones flying.

“I was in the garden… when the stone hit me, I thought this is it,” Tamang told AFP on Monday from a hospital bed in Hattigauda town where he is receiving treatment.

“But somehow I survived this time too,” he said, adding that the April 25 disaster was “much scarier” than the last major quake to hit the Kathmandu valley in 1934.

His daughter-in-law pulled him out of the rubble several hours later and Tamang lived in the garden for a week until the Nepal army airlifted him to a hospital on Saturday.

“She saved me, I would have died otherwise,” Tamang said, confirming his age as 101.

“So many died in our village, the smell was terrible with all the rotting bodies and no priest to hold death rites.”

Police had initially said that Tamang was trapped under the rubble of his home ever since the quake struck on April 25, but they later said he was in fact rescued from his garden where he had been sheltering since the disaster.

As the bodies of the dead piled up, the devout Buddhist community decided to organise a mass cremation last week, he said.

Tamang’s rescue was a rare piece of good news for the devastated country after officials Saturday ruled out finding more survivors buried in the ruins.

“I don’t know if it is luck but I am a strong man… I work in the field and I walk every day,” he said.

“Now I keep wondering when I will die, when so many younger people have already gone.” -AFP

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