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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Google's Susan Moskwa Safe In Nepal


Susan Moskwa Safe In Nepal
Susan Moskwa was part of Google's Webmaster Trends Analysts (they need a new name for that team) for a few years and left that team to fix internal communications at Google in 2012, but she was very influential to the team when she worked in that division. I still follow her today.
She was all excited to go on a vacation to Nepal, landed and she is now stranded there, SAFE, but stranded. She has posted two updates on her status on Google+.
One was on April 25th that said:
I'm in Pokhara, Nepal; +Natala Menezes​ and I are safe. We are sheltering in place for a couple days to see if things calm down enough in Kathmandu to catch our flight out on the 28th.
The second was on April 26th, I am not sure if she made her flight out yesterday, as there are no more updates yet but she did share her experience in detail:
Update from Pokhara, Nepal, 31 hours post-earthquake:
I think 'unsettled' is the word of the day. Only got a few hours of sleep last night due to periodic aftershocks. I think there've been 20+, including a big one around 5am and another 6.9 magnitude today around lunchtime. We've all got "go bags" ready (passport, cash, water, headlamp, etc.) and are sleeping with our clothes on, ready to run out at a moment's notice. There's nothing quite like waking from a sound sleep and going straight into grab-your-bags adrenaline mode. And then the shaking stops, and you sit there in the stillness wondering if or how to go back to bed.
Many shops were closed today (photo below) as people are nervous about being indoors; now it's 7pm and people are starting to gather in the fields and streets again to spend the night outdoors. I've had a strange feeling of ping-ponging back and forth all day between the seriousness of the situation and our relative comfort. There are basically no damaged buildings to be seen in our part of Pokhara; but we're meeting local people whose homes (in the surrounding villages) were damaged or destroyed. In the morning we sipped fresh lassis on a sunny verandah by the lake, and then a moment later the glass was shaking and people were screaming and running for open ground. In the afternoon we discussed various options for getting home, and how many days it might take... while sitting in an air conditioned room with plenty of fresh water and snacks. It's a strange juxtaposition, tinged by a constant underlying tension and uncertainty.
The aftershocks are unsettling because you never know when they'll happen or how long they'll last. The earthquake, okay, I could deal with that, but after experiencing a day of random aftershocks, every time I hear a truck rumble or a door creak I tense up, trying to feel whether it's accompanied by shaking or is just a random noise. In the afternoon I felt like things were shaking even when they weren't, and was too creeped out to stay in our third floor room; I had to go down to the ground floor for awhile to calm down.
I'm not exactly worried, because we're covering all our bases logistically, gathering as much info as we can and making backup plans for our backup plans. There's not much more we can do, and our hotel staff is taking good care of us. We are prioritizing safety over speed in our evacuation plans. But it's all just... unsettling. I can't imagine what it's like in Kathmandu.
Many people lost their lives in the Nepal devastation, including a Googler.
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