On Saturday, while Nepali Pranksters were shooting its Internet comedy series, the earth beneath them began shaking.
It was the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that ripped the country, causing massive damage to life and property. The team, who were filming for an episode for their hidden camera series, continued shooting as they traversed the sites where the quake had caused destruction.
The team conducts “pranks” that question cultural and societal norms on people while capturing their reactions. One of these videos shows the members of the team walking up to strangers and engaging them in a long and awkward handshake, while another approaches men and women and appreciate their clothing and appearances.
It was during their most recent prank on the subject of Nepal’s ban on plastic bags, which they shot in Jawalakhel, when they felt the ground rumbling at 11:55 a.m., Akash Sedai, one of the two “pranksters,” said in an email to CNN.
Soon, there were people screaming all over, fearing for their lives as a building collapsed behind them. Vehicles and traffic came to a standstill.
They continued filming for the next 18 minutes, seeing distraught sufferers and dilapidated buildings. People were rescuing survivors from debris left by the catastrophe. Sedai said he and his partner, Ashish Prasai, were requesting people to keep the streets clear to make way for emergency vehicles.
When the earthquake started shaking the ground, Sedai said, “we were still thinking it was a just a simple earthquake.”
According to Kate Ravilious, geologist and science journalist, earthquakes are common in Nepal. The country experiences tremors of magnitude 4 or 5 every year.
The last massive earthquake occurred in 1934, causing widespread damage to the country. The catastrophic event measured 8.2 on the Richter scale, its epicenter being 10 kilometers south of Mt. Everest.
Ravilious, who is also the author of the 2014 Cosmos article “Kathmandu’s earthquake nightmare,” said that it wasn’t a question of if, but when such a tragedy will occur.
She told CNN that, with a fragile and weak infrastructure, the 7.8-magnitude earthquake had the potential to cause “much more serious” damage.
Sedai and Prasai also went and filmed at the historic Dharahara tower and Basantapur Durbar Square, a UNESCO world heritage site.
No damage was caused on the first day to either them or their families. However, fear still maintains a stronghold in the hearts of the people.
“We are scared. … Earthquakes waves are occurring now,” Sedai said.
“Hope we will be alive and the problem will get solved soon.”
According to The New York Times, the current death toll caused by the earthquake has risen above 3,400.
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