Remember the baby pulled from Nepal 2015 quake rubble after 22 hours? Here’s how he’s now

Daksha Devnani


After an earthquake devastated Nepal in 2015, the 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, and the 4-year-old is now a playful boy.

Sonish survived but still suffers the effects of dust in his lungs; he is, however, an incredibly lucky little boy! And he is certainly looking more lively today.

In 2015, a 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.

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, four 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, and mother, Rasmila, as well as his sister, Sonia. The father works as a truck driver and earns only 6,000 rupees (US$7.50) per month. The family, who 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 Sonia 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 two 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,” Rasmila added.

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.

But now four years later, Sonish is a playful and enthusiastic boy. He is excited to have visitors and always runs to the door whenever he hears the bell ring. According to the Nepal Times in April 2018, the family was still homeless and was living in a rented room with both their kids.

But the Nepal Army, which gave Sonish a second chance at life, is going to provide both him and his sister with scholarships till they get to college. In addition to that, as soon as the toddler finishes primary school, he will attend the army’s high school in Sallaghari.

Amul Thapa, the photographer behind the image of Sonish covered in dust, told the Nepal Times: “I was able to tell the story of the child and the family to the whole world. My photographs made Sonish famous worldwide, and the story did the same for me. It was not just a picture, it symbolized hope and survival.”

In addition, Thapa visits the family quite regularly.

Perhaps this little boy’s story may offer some consolation to his family amidst the difficulties. He is indeed a sign of hope, and is growing and looking much more lively. We wish Sonish, his family, and his country the best of luck!

From The Epoch Times

Published on 14 May 2019