Volunteers @ Melamchi Ghyang Secondary School
Charity worker speaks of harrowing experiences during Nepal earthquake
By The Sentinel | Posted: May 11, 2015
Corin Hardcastle was teaching at a school in Nepal when the earthquake hit
A CHARITY worker has spoken of the harrowing moment when a school roof collapsed behind him during the Nepal earthquake.
Corin Hardcastle, of James Street, Stoke, retired from teaching IT five years ago.
The 67-year-old now has his own charity which helps students and teachers across schools in the Yolmo Valley use computers.
But Corin’s third visit to Nepal, and the village of Melamchi Ghyang, in three years was marred by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake on April 25 - the death toll from which stands at more than 8,000.
And Corin - who returned to the Potteries on Friday - explained he was sitting in the computer room when he heard a ‘rattle’.
He said: “The village school, Melamchi Ghyang School, were running an entrance examination day - 70 students had come up to try and join the school.
“I heard a rattle and thought it was a strong wind, then it got deeper and louder and that’s when I knew it was an earthquake.
“I dropped my computer and ran in my socks into the rain - the ceiling collapsed behind me on to the floor.”
Corin waited with students and teachers on the school playground until the tremors stopped.
The school - and the hostel where Corin had been staying - was reduced to rubble.
Corin added it is believed two people in the 350-strong village died during the disaster.
He said: “The first night involved sleeping on the ground in a plastic sheet.
“The next few days consisted of building shelters for families and emptying rubble from houses - my passport was four feet under a concrete roof.
“The village was as flat as a chapati and bits of roof were sticking out.”
Corin was able to get an answerphone message to wife Marg to let her know he was alive - three days after the earthquake.
He also revealed there were aftershock tremors coming through - the biggest of which hit 5.1 on the Richter scale.
Corin, who stayed in a shelter with the school’s headteacher and his family until his return to Stoke-on-Trent, added the school will be restarted within a month.
He said: “It was a disaster, it is a disaster and it will take a number of years and an enormous amount of money to get the society back to where it was.
“The lucky thing was it didn’t happen at night - the death toll in the village would have been hundreds.”
Corin is now planning to run teacher training in computer systems in the Sindhupalchok District in 2016.
Wife Marg said: “It’s been an emotional rollercoaster.
“He’s exhausted and I’m exhausted from the emotion of it all.
"I can't imagine what it's like for the people of Nepal."
For more information on how you can get involved with the Yolmo Connect charity, ring 07711 962755.