A Nepali boy stands amidst earthquake damage in the ancient city of Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu Valley on April. 28, 2015. Nepal had a severe earthquake on April 25th. Photo by Adam Ferguson for Time
A Nepalese boy stands amid earthquake damage in the ancient city of Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu Valley, April 28, 2015, three days after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake had hit the country.Adam Ferguson for TIME
A Nepali boy stands amidst earthquake damage in the ancient city of Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu Valley on April. 28, 2015. Nepal had a severe earthquake on April 25th. Photo by Adam Ferguson for Time
A Nepali man carries recovered belongings through the street in the ancient city of Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu Valley on April. 28, 2015. Nepal had a severe earthquake on April 25th. Photo by Adam Ferguson for Time
People atop damaged buildings in Durbar Square, Kathmandu, Nepal on April. 26, 2015. The historic Durbar Square, a UNESCO world heritage site, was severely damaged in an earthquake on April 25th. Photo by Adam Ferguson for Time
Hindu Nepali women mourn the loss of four family members who were killed in the earthquake on April 25th, at the site of funeral pyres on the river Kathmandu on April. 28, 2015. Photo by Adam Ferguson for Time
A crowd watches Indian forces excavating collapsed apartments looking for bodies and survivors of Saturdays Earthquake, in Kathmandu, Nepal on April. 27, 2015. Nepal had a severe earthquake on April 25th. Photo by Adam Ferguson for Time
Nepali forces excavate the Dharahara tower in Kathmandu, Nepal on April. 26, 2015. This as well as historic Durbar Square, both UNESCO world heritage sites, were severely damaged in an earthquake on April 25th. Photo by Adam Ferguson for Time
Nepali people flee buildings during an aftershock in Kathmandu, Nepal on April. 27, 2015. Nepal had a severe earthquake on April 25th. Photo by Adam Ferguson for Time
Indian and Nepali forces attempt to identify a body after it was recovered from a collapsed restaurant in Kathmandu, Nepal on April. 27, 2015. Nepal had a severe earthquake on April 25th. Photo by Adam Ferguson for Time
A Hindu Nepali man tends to a funeral pyre built for a person killed in the earthquake in Nepal, on the river in Kathmandu, Nepal on April. 27, 2015. Nepal had a severe earthquake on April 25th. Photo by Adam Ferguson for Time
Nepali forces excavate the Dharahara tower in Kathmandu, Nepal on April. 26, 2015. This as well as historic Durbar Square, both UNESCO world heritage sites, were severely damaged in an earthquake on April 25th. Photo by Adam Ferguson for Time
Nepali forces clear fallen bamboo from ruins in Durbar Square, Kathmandu, Nepal on April. 26, 2015. The historic Durbar Square, a UNESCO world heritage site, was severely damaged in an earthquake on April 25th. Photo by Adam Ferguson for Time
Nepali children walk through the street in the ancient city of Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu Valley on April. 28, 2015. Nepal had a severe earthquake on April 25th. Photo by Adam Ferguson for Time
Workers repair power lines in Kathmandu, Nepal on April. 28, 2015. Nepal had a severe earthquake on April 25th. Photo by Adam Ferguson for Time
Indian and Nepali forces excavate a body from collapsed apartments in Kathmandu, Nepal on April. 27, 2015. Nepal had a severe earthquake on April 25th. Photo by Adam Ferguson for Time
Nepalis retrieve belongings from earthquake damaged homes in the ancient city of Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu Valley on April 29, 2015. Nepal had a severe earthquake on April 25th. Photo by Adam Ferguson for Time
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Nepal_Earthquake_2015_03113.JPG
A displaced Nepali family take shelter in a tent in a park in Kathmandu, Nepal on April. 27, 2015. Nepal had a severe earthquake on April 25th. Photo by Adam Ferguson for Time
A mother looks at her son who was injured in the April 25th earthquake, at the Nepal and India Trauma Centre in Kathmandu, Nepal on April. 29, 2015. Photo by Adam Ferguson for Time
Earthquake, Kathmandu, Nepal
A body recovered from a collapsed restaurant in Kathmandu, Nepal on April. 27, 2015. Nepal had a severe earthquake on April 25th. Photo by Adam Ferguson for Time
A Nepali man tends to a funeral pyre built for a person killed in the earthquake in Nepal, on the river in Kathmandu, Nepal on April. 28, 2015. Nepal had a severe earthquake on April 25th. Photo by Adam Ferguson for Time
A funeral pyre built for a person killed in the earthquake in Nepal, on the river in Kathmandu, Nepal on April. 27, 2015. Nepal had a severe earthquake on April 25th. Photo by Adam Ferguson for Time
A Nepalese boy stands amid earthquake damage in the ancient city of Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu Valley, April 28, 2015,
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Adam Ferguson for TIME
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Witness the Aftermath of Nepal's Devastating Earthquake

Apr 30, 2015

Freelance photographer Adam Ferguson was on assignment in New Delhi when a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit the central region of Nepal. “The building started to shake, and I immediately looked at the news to see how the situation was developing,” he says.

Using his connections with an Indian travel agency, Ferguson was able to secure a seat on one of the last flights to Kathmandu, where he began to photograph the aftermath for TIME. “I flew in on Sunday morning,” he says. “I went straight down to the historic center, which had been devastated. It was a pile of rubble.”

While most of the city only suffered structural damages – “the majority of Kathmandu is still standing, with only the buildings that weren’t constructed properly having fallen over,” he says – the UNESCO sites and historical structures were the hardest hit.

“I spent the first moving around the city, photographing for TIME the destruction and looking for rescue teams,” says Ferguson. By nightfall, as aftershocks continued to hit the region, he spent part of the night sleeping in an office inside a two-story building. With each aftershock, he’d rush outside in the rain. “A lot of people have been staying in parks and open spaces,” he says. And this is not expected to change any time soon: “An extraordinary number of buildings that haven’t fallen over have suffered constructional damage, so a huge amount of people won’t be able to move back in for weeks.”

Adam Ferguson is an Australian freelance photographer based in Bangkok, Thailand.

Olivier Laurent is the editor of TIME LightBox. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @olivierclaurent

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