Nepal earthquake. Gumda Village, in Ghorka district. 5 people died and 14 are still missing in landslides. Inhabitants salvaging building materials from their destroyed houses. Funeral of Rejina Gurung, 3 who was just discovered buried in the rubble. Her mother, Bishnu Gurung, weeping in mourning. Rejina's father, Chabilal Gurung is a guest worker in Malaysia. by James Nachtwey
Bishnu Gurung sobs after her 3-year-old daughter, Rejina Gurung, was found buried in the rubble in the village of Gumda in Gorkha district, near the epicenter of last month's Nepal earthquake, on May 8, 2015. The baby’s father is a guest worker in Malaysia.James Nachtwey for TIME
Nepal earthquake. Gumda Village, in Ghorka district. 5 people died and 14 are still missing in landslides. Inhabitants salvaging building materials from their destroyed houses. Funeral of Rejina Gurung, 3 who was just discovered buried in the rubble. Her mother, Bishnu Gurung, weeping in mourning. Rejina's father, Chabilal Gurung is a guest worker in Malaysia. by James Nachtwey
Nepal earthquake. Gumda Village, in Ghorka district. 5 people died and 14 are still missing in landslides. Inhabitants salvaging building materials from their destroyed houses. Funeral of Rejina Gurung, 3 who was just discovered buried in the rubble. Her mother, Bishnu Gurung, weeping in mourning. Rejina's father, Chabilal Gurung is a guest worker in Malaysia. by James Nachtwey
Nepal earthquake. Gumda Village, in Ghorka district. 5 people died and 14 are still missing in landslides. Inhabitants salvaging building materials from their destroyed houses. Funeral of Rejina Gurung, 3 who was just discovered buried in the rubble. Her mother, Bishnu Gurung, weeping in mourning. Rejina's father, Chabilal Gurung is a guest worker in Malaysia. by James Nachtwey
Nepal earthquake. Gumda Village, in Ghorka district. 5 people died and 14 are still missing in landslides. Inhabitants salvaging building materials from their destroyed houses. Funeral of Rejina Gurung, 3 who was just discovered buried in the rubble. Her mother, Bishnu Gurung, weeping in mourning. Rejina's father, Chabilal Gurung is a guest worker in Malaysia. by James Nachtwey
Nepal earthquake. Young Buddhist monks from Hinang Gompa (monastery) in the village of Lhi in Gorkha district in the Annapurna Range of the Himalayas were transported by Indian Army helicopter to Pokhara because the monastery was damaged in the earthquake. A boy was injured in the mountain village of Dhunchet and with his father was evacuated  by Indian Army helicopter. Mountain villages outside Pokhara that were destroyed. Food drops by Indian Army helicopters.  by James Nachtwey
Nepal earthquake. Young Buddhist monks from Hinang Gompa (monastery) in the village of Lhi in Gorkha district in the Annapurna Range of the Himalayas were transported by Indian Army helicopter to Pokhara because the monastery was damaged in the earthquake. A boy was injured in the mountain village of Dhunchet and with his father was evacuated  by Indian Army helicopter. Mountain villages outside Pokhara that were destroyed. Food drops by Indian Army helicopters.  by James Nachtwey
Nepal earthquake. Young Buddhist monks from Hinang Gompa (monastery) in the village of Lhi in Gorkha district in the Annapurna Range of the Himalayas were transported by Indian Army helicopter to Pokhara because the monastery was damaged in the earthquake. A boy was injured in the mountain village of Dhunchet and with his father was evacuated  by Indian Army helicopter. Mountain villages outside Pokhara that were destroyed. Food drops by Indian Army helicopters.  by James Nachtwey
Nepal earthquake. Young Buddhist monks from Hinang Gompa (monastery) in the village of Lhi in Gorkha district in the Annapurna Range of the Himalayas were transported by Indian Army helicopter to Pokhara because the monastery was damaged in the earthquake. A boy was injured in the mountain village of Dhunchet and with his father was evacuated  by Indian Army helicopter. Mountain villages outside Pokhara that were destroyed. Food drops by Indian Army helicopters.  by James Nachtwey
Nepal earthquake. Young Buddhist monks from Hinang Gompa (monastery) in the village of Lhi in Gorkha district in the Annapurna Range of the Himalayas were transported by Indian Army helicopter to Pokhara because the monastery was damaged in the earthquake. A boy was injured in the mountain village of Dhunchet and with his father was evacuated  by Indian Army helicopter. Mountain villages outside Pokhara that were destroyed. Food drops by Indian Army helicopters.  by James Nachtwey
Nepal earthquake. Barpak, the epicenter of the earthquake. Inhabitants salvaging building materials and possessions from their destroyed houses. by James Nachtwey
Nepal earthquake. Barpak, the epicenter of the earthquake. Funeral of Pur Bahadur Gurung, 26, who had just been dug out of the rubble. Saainli Gurung, his mother weeping. Scenes of villagers salvaging building materials and personal possessions. Dhan Raj Ghale, 30, dressed in mourning garb after the death of his wite, salvaging buildings materials and possessions from his house. by James Nachtwey
Nepal earthquake. Barpak, the epicenter of the earthquake. Funeral of Pur Bahadur Gurung, 26, who had just been dug out of the rubble. Saainli Gurung, his mother weeping. Scenes of villagers salvaging building materials and personal possessions. Dhan Raj Ghale, 30, dressed in mourning garb after the death of his wite, salvaging buildings materials and possessions from his house. by James Nachtwey
Nepal earthquake. Barpak, the epicenter of the earthquake. Funeral of Pur Bahadur Gurung, 26, who had just been dug out of the rubble. Saainli Gurung, his mother weeping. Scenes of villagers salvaging building materials and personal possessions. Dhan Raj Ghale, 30, dressed in mourning garb after the death of his wite, salvaging buildings materials and possessions from his house. by James Nachtwey
Nepal earthquake. Barpak, the epicenter of the earthquake. Funeral of Pur Bahadur Gurung, 26, who had just been dug out of the rubble. Saainli Gurung, his mother weeping. Scenes of villagers salvaging building materials and personal possessions. Dhan Raj Ghale, 30, dressed in mourning garb after the death of his wite, salvaging buildings materials and possessions from his house. by James Nachtwey
Nepal earthquake. Barpak, the epicenter of the earthquake. Funeral of Pur Bahadur Gurung, 26, who had just been dug out of the rubble. Saainli Gurung, his mother weeping. Scenes of villagers salvaging building materials and personal possessions. Dhan Raj Ghale, 30, dressed in mourning garb after the death of his wite, salvaging buildings materials and possessions from his house. by James Nachtwey
Nepal earthquake. Barpak, the epicenter of the earthquake. Funeral of Pur Bahadur Gurung, 26, who had just been dug out of the rubble. Saainli Gurung, his mother weeping. Scenes of villagers salvaging building materials and personal possessions. Dhan Raj Ghale, 30, dressed in mourning garb after the death of his wite, salvaging buildings materials and possessions from his house. by James Nachtwey
Nepal earthquake. Barpak, the epicenter of the earthquake. Inhabitants salvaging building materials and possessions from their destroyed houses. by James Nachtwey
Nepal earthquake. Gumda Village, in Ghorka district. 5 people died and 14 are still missing in landslides. Inhabitants salvaging building materials from their destroyed houses. Funeral of Rejina Gurung, 3 who was just discovered buried in the rubble. Her mother, Bishnu Gurung, weeping in mourning. Rejina's father, Chabilal Gurung is a guest worker in Malaysia. by James Nachtwey
Bishnu Gurung sobs after her 3-year-old daughter, Rejina Gurung, was found buried in the rubble in the village of Gumda
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James Nachtwey for TIME
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James Nachtwey’s Latest Dispatches From Nepal

May 15, 2015

This is second part in a two-part series of dispatches filed by TIME contract photographer James Nachtwey from Nepal, days after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake devastated parts of the central Asian country. Read part one.

The mountains of Nepal are weeping. The restless earth shifted, and thousands of people perished. Many more thousands have been injured. Hundreds of villages have been flattened. Stone houses made by hand were literally shaken apart. But what was created by hand can be rebuilt the same way, and that is exactly what the Nepalese villagers are doing. What can never be replaced are the loved ones, many of whom are still being discovered buried beneath the rubble.

Having witnessed the destruction in Kathmandu and surrounding towns, I attempted to see what had happened in the remote mountain villages. The epicenter of the quake was located in Gorkha District, most of which was inaccessible, except by helicopter. The 301 and 206 Aviation Squadrons of the Indian Army were flying out of Pokhara, airlifting food and supplies and evacuating the injured. It was a fast paced, non-stop operation that required highly skilled pilots to land with very little clearance on small terraced fields carved into the steep mountainsides. Some flights could find no place to land. Others hovered and shoved food, blankets and tarps out of the open helicopter doors.

Photograph by James Nachtwey for TIME 

One mission took us to an extremely remote Buddhist monastery deep in the snow-covered, high Himalayas to evacuate a group of young monks from their damaged dwellings.

Barpak is one of the larger villages in the district. 1,200 out of 1,475 houses were destroyed. 69 people were killed. Some are still missing. 150 were seriously injured. The inhabitants quickly began the rebuilding process. Furniture, utensils and personal possessions were slowly salvaged from the ruins, and piece-by-piece, individual stones, wooden planks and corrugated metal, were retrieved and sorted, to be used again. The people were on their own, fending for themselves, as they always had.

A rescue team discovered Pur Bahadur Gurung, 26, buried in the wreckage of a house. Only then did the natural stoicism of the people break down.

International Medical Corps flew into the village of Gumda and set up a two-day, mobile health clinic. As in Barpak, the people busied themselves with dismantling the ruins in order to rebuild. Rejina Gurung, aged 3, was found beneath a fallen roof, and alongside four others from the village who had died, was buried in a field overlooking a broad valley, far below.

The Nepalese are known for their strength and self-reliance, their equanimity, friendliness and spirituality. As their character was being tested by a natural disaster, they revealed an unshakeable resilience. It became clear that who they are has been forged in hardship and closeness to nature.

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James Nachtwey is a TIME contract photographer, documenting wars, conflicts and critical social issues.

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