While our hearts go out to all our Japanese brothers and sisters now suffering from one of the strongest earthquakes in history, perhaps now is the time to evaluate our own earthquake preparedness here in Nepal.
While we don’t need to worry about a Tsunami as part of the aftermath of the next quake to hit Nepal, we do need to worry about the aftermath in general, no? According to my wife’s employer (a large INGO), we should have our “go-bag” packed and ready to go in the event of any seismic disaster, specifically anything far off the Richter scale.
Interestingly enough, we just had a dry run, where we all had to assemble at an emergency rescue point (in this case, a local bakery about 1km away from our house), and where we were all supposed to have our go-bag ready, as well as a “mike check” from our employer-supplied walkie-talkie.
Well, my wife and dog and I showed up miserably unprepared: The walkie-talkie’s battery had been dead for months and we had nothing with us but our wallets, mobiles, and maybe a few dog biscuits. We were also a few hours early for the drill, which in the case of real disaster, probably would not have been such a bad idea.
But the entire experience got me thinking; just what would it be like if the drill had been real, and Kathmandu had been struck by something measuring higher then 8.8 on the Richter scale. Would we have even been able to get out of our flat? Would the emergency assembly point even exist after an earthquake, and if not, then what? And just what in our unpacked go-bag would actually be useful in the aftermath of a quake?
Here is the result of my analysis – you should immediately drop everything you are doing outside of reading this article and go fill a knock-off North Face bag with these go-bag essentials: Bottled water (1 ltr = 1kg weight), water purification tablets, snacks (trail mix / chocolate bars), Swiss Army knife / multi-tool, torch light w/ extra bats and first aid kit (complete). And also don’t forget these: passport / visa copies, sleeping bag, toilet kit, spare set of clothes, warm fleece top and waterproof outerwear.
I was reading a UN list, and they specifically call for a few more items, like a hairbrush and clean underwear. I supposed that’s for the morning after.
While we don’t need to worry about a Tsunami as part of the aftermath of the next quake to hit Nepal, we do need to worry about the aftermath in general, no?
But regardless of what you throw in your go-bag, you get the point – now is the time to pack, hoping we will never have to use this particular luggage.
Me being the morbid type that I am, I can’t help but think about those that don’t have an emergency rescue point to go to, like those that work for a large organization do have. Perhaps in true Nepali spirit, families would gather (as well as clans) to help each other out, and pull each other to safety.
The human spirit constantly amazes me these days, from young North Africans to devastated Japanese villagers overcoming the seemingly impossible. I think that’s the one thing we all have going for us: In times of dire need, I have no doubt that the Nepali people will come out above it all. I’m counting on that...and my dog Krypto.
Krypto is our huge Alsatian, who is somewhat trained and very protective. We’re going to load him up with a go-bag as well: Bottled water (a lot of it),water purification tablets, snacks (doggie biscuits),Swiss Army knife / multi-tool, torch light w/ extra bats and first aid kit (for dogs as well as humans).
I figure he’s our backup plan, as I’m sure if I get caught in the rubble, he’ll be there digging me out, and with his own go-bag strapped to his back. He’s that kinda friend. But I fear for other pet dogs locked in cages or chained in a yard, and then left alone in haste. So please go do one thing after getting your go-bag on - let your dog out of his box, and don’t chain your pet ever again.
Writer is quirky kinda expat happily living in the Kathmandu valley with Nepali family, friends and a very large dog – but is concerned that his go-bag is really a no-go bag
@ Harke... LOL, so true, the bag I do carry is already too heavy, and it just has a wallet, a smartphone and a zippo lighter with a few smokes. I doubt any of those items would be useful in the event. The dog, on the other hand, was being trained to have that pack on his back whenever he went out, but I got tired of all the kids laughing at me and snickering "there goes that man with the donkey dog." Anyway, thx for taking the time to read and then comment!
First, the article seems to target the ex-pat community and completely misses the relality of Kathmandu´s residents. While the idea of a go bag is nice for people who can afford the things mentioned, it could act as a false sense of security. Also, let´s say I got one of these, then what? Am I supposed to carry it with me all the time? Should the dog carry it as well? I do appreciate the fact that the article draws attention to a serious issue and, I hope, will start a conversation a