SHELTERING in a shop doorway in Kathmandu, Robyn Murray spent a “very long two minutes” trying to stay upright as the city was rocked by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake last Saturday.
The Orange mental health worker had spent a week in Nepal meeting with government bodies and health workers to improve the country’s mental health system, when she was caught up in the earthquake that left 5844 dead and more than 10,000 injured.
Ms Murray was in her favourite carpet shop in Kathmandu on Saturday, the day before she was due to fly out, when the earthquake struck.
“The ground began to move and the shopkeeper ran out because he knew what was happening, but I was sitting there in the back of the shop with the carpets falling off the wall,” Ms Murray said.
“I think it takes you a few seconds to compute what was going on. When I realised what was happening I had to make my way over this sea of moving carpets, the walls were moving. I got to the door frame where the shopkeeper was hiding and he put his arm around me and we braced ourselves until the big waves stopped.
“It was unstable, like being on a jumping castle.”
Ms Murray said she remembered seeing streams of people running down the street, some injured, some screaming, with looks of terror on their faces.
“The streets were moving, the pavement was moving, there were buildings falling down,” she said.
When the main waves of the earthquake had subsided, Ms Murray made her way back to her accommodation at Kathmandu Guesthouse, where she spent Saturday night holed up with other tourists.
On Sunday morning she managed to make her way to Kathmandu’s crowded Tribhuvan International Airport, where she waited for 14 hours for a flight to Australia, returning to Orange on Tuesday night.
Ms Murray, who is a member of Rotary Club of Orange Daybreak and regularly makes trips to the developing country for the club’s Nepal Mental Health Project, said she would be working with Rotary to help raise money for the Nepalese over the coming weeks.