After an earthquake devastated Nepal 2 years ago, this baby named Sonish was buried under the rubble of his own family home. Sonish’s story was one of hope amidst all of the devastation and tragedy; rescuers found the fragile baby still alive nearly a whole day later. Sonish still suffers the effects of dust in his lungs, he is however an incredibly luck little boy! And, he is certainly looking more lively today!
Two years ago, a small baby named Sonish Awal was pulled from the ruins of his collapsed home in the aftermath of a massive earthquake in Nepal. The quake, which measured a colossal 8.1 on the Richter scale left 9,000 people dead, and another 21,000 injured last April. The baby was very lucky to be alive, for he had been trapped under the debris for 22 whole hours before he was discovered. Images of the infant being rescued while covered in dust was a symbol of hope for the people, who were suffering amidst death and the catastrophe.
Now, two years later, Sonish is unrecognizable from those earlier images. He looks much livelier today, and is incredibly lucky; however, the tot suffers from the effects of dust in his lungs and the family is still coping with the destruction the quake has caused to their lives. He lives with his father Shyam, 34, and mother Rasmila, 36, as well as his sister Sonita, 10. The father works as a truck driver, and earns only 6,000 rupees per month, the equivalent of around US$7.50. The family, that used to own a two-bedroom home with a TV, refrigerator and air-conditioner, cannot afford to rebuild their old home. Now they live together in a one-room shelter.
Sonish was dubbed the “miracle baby” after having survived the 22-hour ordeal. He was just 4 months old at the time. He survived mainly because of a cupboard that had fallen on top of him, which shielded him from the falling debris and aftershocks. His mother was in the market at the time of the quake, while Sonita babysat her infant brother. At the moment when the quake struck, the woman ran home only to discover the collapsed remains of her house with both children still inside.
“I threw everything to the ground and ran,” Rasmila recalled. “I just ran as fast as I could. But when I got home I saw my house flattened… I can’t remember every moment because I was in such a state but I was screaming to save my children, just devastated.”
Thankfully, neighbors helped to uncover Awal, her daughter, just 2 hours later. Their son however remained buried amidst the rubble. During those 22 hours, Rasmila describes the profound worry she felt:
“As I held my daughter I kept screaming for my son.
“People said he was possibly dead as they could not hear him crying but I begged them to search. I said I wanted him even if he was dead. People then started digging for him.
“Only I know how I lived those 22 hours. I did not sleep, eat or drink anything. I just cried and prayed for Sonish.
“I could not believe my eyes when I saw him alive. I held him and fell to my knees. I hugged him tightly and kissed him all over before thanking God for showing me mercy.”
Amidst the devastation of the quake, Sonish’s story was one of hope and survival. Hope is still alive today in Nepal, despite the devastating aftermath—though they face many challenges rebuilding. Brick factories are working hard to fill the demand for the new buildings, but many children are forced to work there instead of going to school. Perhaps this little boy’s story may offer some consolation to his family amidst the difficulties. Although he still suffers from dust in his lungs, he is indeed a sign of hope, and he is indeed growing and looking much more lively. We wish Sonish, his family, and his country the best of luck!