Tales of loss and survival

A glimpse of the staggering human toll in Nepal -- and the resiliency of those who survived.

A shaky arrival

Monica Karki

Monica Karki holds her son, born just a few days before the first quake struck on April 25.

When it hit, they were still in a maternity hospital in Kathmandu known locally as Prasuti Griha.

Now, she and her son are in Tundikhel, a large grassy field in the center of Kathmandu, sharing one tent with three other families.

Her hometown, in the Dolakha district east of the capital, is destroyed.

Kushum Thapa for CNN

'There are no words'

Bailey Sage Meola and Sydney Jo Schumacher

They were two young women hiking in Nepal. They were 19 and friends from Seattle.

Bailey Meola and Sydney Schumacher were traveling the world after graduating from high school, according to news reports. They met up in Thailand, flew to Kathmandu and were trekking the Langtang Valley.

They were near the valley's namesake village on April 25 when the first quake hit, triggering a huge avalanche and several smaller rockslides and landslides.

Their families back in the U.S. feared they were trapped. They began raising money on Indiegogo for an independent expedition and sent Sydney's older brothers, Will and Paul, to Nepal to find the women and bring them home.

The brothers took part in search and rescue efforts in the valley -- which the families described as "physically and emotionally rigorous, painstaking and thorough."

"When Sydney’s brothers, Will and Paul, searched the entirety of the trek and saw the immense and unfathomable destruction and devastation, it was clear that there was no chance our girls had survived," the families wrote on Indiegogo and Facebook.

"These two young men -- sons, brothers, grandsons, nephews, cousins and friends -- are, and will always be, our heroes.

"Although our strong desire has been to hear final confirmation from the U.S. Embassy and to receive our girls’ remains, we haven’t, and may never.

"There are no words to describe the depths of our sorrow and loss."

The Indiegogo fund raised more than $50,000 from more than 700 people. The families said they will use donations "to aid the people and economy of the Langtang Valley region in the names of our beautiful daughters."

"We have been profoundly moved by the support and love we have received from near and from far, far away," they wrote. "You have all had your part in helping us move through these dark days."

-- CNN's AnneClaire Stapleton and Steve Goldberg

Just rewards

Bikey Shrestha

Two-year-old Bikey Shrestha and his father, Dinesh Shrestha, are living at Tundikhel, a large grassy field in the center of Kathmandu where a tent city has been set up following the earthquake.

They are from the Dhading district, west of the capital.

When relief teams were distributing food, Bikey told them, “I want two biscuits.” He was rewarded for speaking up.

Kushum Thapa for CNN

Still smiling

Manish Pokhrel

When he saw the camera, 2-year-old Manish Pokhrel's face lit up. No matter that he and his family are taking refuge in the tent city set up at Tundikhel, a large grassy field in the center of Kathmandu.

Manish loves to be photographed, his mother said.

Kushum Thapa for CNN

Waiting for shelter

Shiva Giri

Shiva Giri walked two hours from his village to get tents for his family.

The 68-year-old said the earthquake destroyed his four houses, but none of the 18 people in his family was hurt.

They lived out in the open for nearly two weeks before a relief team arrived in this remote area of SIndhupalchok, northeast of Kathmandu, with food, water and shelter.

After being given five tents, he smiled and offered a blessing.

"Today me and my family can sleep peacefully, thank you very much."

Kushum Thapa for CNN

Worried about the future

Rajani Giri

Rajani Giri waited with her grandmother, Devkumari Giri, for food and shelter.

Nearly two weeks after the first quake hit, a relief team arrived near their village in SIndhupalchok, northeast of Kathmandu.

Devkumari said she was worried about her family and what the future would hold.

Kushum Thapa for CNN

Saved by a market visit

Datchering Sherpa

Datchering Sherpa, 40, was at the market in Naamche on the day of the quake. Naamche is the town high up in the Nepalese Himalayas where trekkers go to begin their ascent to Everest base camp.

Sherpa says maybe this market visit saved him. His house in the village of Khunde is no longer habitable. He and his family have been living in tents. Almost all the houses in Khunde sustained major damage or were destroyed.

CNN's Moni Basu

'They were courageous'

Chris Norgren was doing what he loved when he died in Nepal.

The 31-year-old U.S. Marine captain from Wichita, Kansas, was delivering humanitarian aid to the quake-ravaged country when his helicopter crashed, killing everyone on board.

Norgren, a pilot, was one of six U.S. Marines and two Nepali service members on the UH-1Y Huey. The wreckage was found in a rugged area of Gorthali at about 11,200 feet, the Nepalese Army said.

Ron Norgren said his son "loved to help people and he loved to fly. ... He was just incredible."

"He was a very compassionate and caring person," said his mother, Terri Norgren. "That's the whole reason he went over there. He told me 'Mom, somebody's got to do this. And this is what I'm supposed to be doing.'"

His commander, Lt. Gen. John Wissler, pledged to continue the humanitarian mission and learn why the Marine chopper went down. He saluted the eight who died.

"They were courageous, they were selfless individuals," Wissler said.

Sara Medina, a 23-year-old Marine corporal and photographer, always wanted to help others, her mother said.

"She was the best daughter. The best sister. Always. I am very proud of my daughter," said Cecilia Lopez. Medina joined ROTC in high school and entered the Marine Corps after graduation. She had planned to marry her fiance, a fellow Marine, in August.

Eric Seaman, a sergeant from California, was a helicopter crew chief.

"He was a great father, he was a great Marine. He loved his country and he really wanted to go to Nepal to help those people," said his wife, Samantha Seaman. "Last week I got an email telling me that he felt purpose, and that he delivered 10,000 pounds of rice. ... I couldn't have asked for a better partner in life."

Capt. Dustin Lukasiewicz, a pilot and aviation safety officer from Nebraska, had just been featured in a Defense Department video describing the mission in Nepal.

"We were able to deliver some rice, potatoes, and tarps to smaller villages just east of Kathmandu," he said. "Areas that are more difficult to get to via any sort of ground transportation."

Lance Cpl. Jake Hug of Phoenix was a combat videographer, his cousin told CNN affiliate KTVK. Hug was documenting the earthquake relief efforts.

Sgt. Ward Johnson of Florida served as a helicopter chief.

Capt. Tapendra Rawal and Warrant Officer Basanta Titara of the Nepalese Army also died in the crash.

"I offer my deepest condolences to (all eight), and their bereaved families," said Nepali Prime Minister Sushil Koirala. "You know, our terrain is so ... difficult, that is why (it crashed)." ... We feel so sorry for that."

CNN's Sugam Pokharel and Kimberly Hutcherson

A scary future ahead

Maya Gurung

She is frightened and in severe pain. For the most part, she lies statue-still on Bed 41 of the female surgical unit at a hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal. Once in a while, she touches her left leg and winces in pain, hot tears streaming down her dust-caked face.

Despite any attempts to comfort her, 10-year-old Maya Gurung is savvy enough to realize things will never be the same, that she must live a life scarred by disaster.

The morning of the quake, Maya was an ordinary girl in a poor village in one of the poorest nations in Asia. She did her chores, including a 20-minute climb to fetch drinking water for her family. Then she set off with her uncle, Dami, and 5-year-old cousin to graze their cattle.

When the ground began shaking, Dami grabbed the children and tried to seek shelter from the rocks and boulders hurtling downhill. A boulder hit them, and they all suffered severe injuries. Maya's was the worst. Her left leg was crushed.

Her father, Bhim Bahadur Gurung, had been working elsewhere in the fields. When he finally found them, he took them to a village clinic. But there was little they could do for Maya. It would be an entire day before a military helicopter could fly her to the capital.

When the chopper arrived, Gurung hopped aboard with his daughter. But when it stopped to pick up more people, the military ordered him off to make room for the injured.

He couldn't stand the thought of Maya being alone, so he set off to find her -- first by foot, then by hitchhiking, then by bus. In Kathmandu, he was directed to a hospital where many quake victims were receiving care.

Four days after the quake, Gurung discovered his daughter. She was scared, tears streaming down her face. Maya grabbed her father tight. When he pulled back to stand up straight, she threw her arms about him and drew him close again.

Then Gurung's eyes fell on her left leg. His heart started beating hard. All he saw was a thick bandage. Doctors were forced to amputate from her shin down. He knew instantly what this meant.

"She wants so much to go home," he says. "But it will be so difficult. Now that she does not have a leg, I will have to carry her everywhere. She won't be able to collect water or do her chores."

Gurung's biggest worry is that no one will want to marry Maya. In his world, a father feels responsible for a daughter until he passes her off to her husband.

"Who will take care of her when I am gone?" he asks.

CNN's Moni Basu

She died saving others


She shouted from her second-story window to warn people when the earthquake hit. But the 45-year-old mother of two never made it out alive.

Punyashwari, whose boys survived when the terror struck, was remembered through tears by a woman in a red sari.

"She was a very good person," the woman said. "She was a mother… and she was my friend."

On the ID card that belonged to Punyashwari, there remains the beautiful and serene face of an earthquake victim who died thinking of others.

CNN's Sanjay Gupta and Jessica Ravitz

Finding thanks amid loss

Nima Kiter

Nima Kiter stands with his wife, Kaminima, before the house they've cherished in the eastern Nepalese village of Chaurikharka. They are simple people with little means. They had lovingly built this home and life together, giving it their all.

Now it is no longer a home.

"We have lost everything," Nima Kiter, 74, says.

He waves his arms in the air: "Everything gone. What will we do?"

He pauses, looks at the ground and then at his wife, 67. He says if the quake had happened at night when they were sleeping, they might be dead. He has much to be thankful for, he says.

CNN's Moni Basu

Setting up home where it isn't

Nawang Nuru Sherpa

Nawang Nuru Sherpa, 38, surveys the lush farmlands before him in the Himalayan village of Phakding. The fields are green with new wheat; potatoes abound in soil the color of charcoal. Beyond that, he sees his home, still standing – but barely.

Sherpa has pitched a tent for himself, his wife, their 9-year-old son and infant daughter. He tried to save as many things as he could from the house and set up the tent as though it were home.

But it isn't.

He is still haunted by the events of April 25. His wife was away. He remembers clutching his children and huddling in one corner of the kitchen. When it got more violent, they ran outside to save themselves.

"See," he says, pointing toward the house. "Everything is broken. My house. My barn. My outhouse."

He works as a trekking guide. But now that the tourists have fled the Everest region, Sherpa worries about the future months.

"I am very afraid."

CNN's Moni Basu

Taking in tenants

Kandu Sherpa

Kandu Sherpa's husband was not home in the Himalayan village of Nachipomdok the day of the earthquake, but she sure was.

She ran out of the house and when the earth stopped moving, she saw cracks traveling through the walls. Another house the couple owns and rents out, further up the mountain, was flattened.

"Our tenants are sleeping here with us. In tents," her husband, Dazgelzen, says.

He speaks in Nepalese but when asked if he expected the government to come to their aid, he responds in broken English: "I don't know."

CNN's Moni Basu

Little faith in government

Chhunjing Sherpa

Chhunjing Sherpa teaches middle school in Khumjung. He says he is lucky that the earthquake struck on a Saturday. No one was at the school, including his two kids, 12 and 13.

But like most everyone else in this area, his house is badly damaged and he needs money to repair it. He is hoping a charitable organization will issue a grant or maybe a bank will give him a discounted earthquake loan.

He listens to a government official, who has traveled from Kathmandu to Khumjung to assess the damage for himself. But Sherpa has little faith in the government.

"We have no government, no NGOs, no tents, no TV, nothing," he says. "How are we to go on with life as before?"

CNN's Moni Basu

Died helping Western mountaineers

Dawa Chiri Sherpa

Dawa Chiri Sherpa was among those killed at the Mount Everest base camp after the April 25 earthquake unleashed a massive howl of wind and rocks. His family learned the news and then waited two days at the Lukla airport before Sherpa's badly broken body was flown down.

Sherpa, one of six brothers and sisters from the village of Chaurikharka, became an Everest climber to make more money for the family, says his brother, Tenzing Sherpa, 42.

Dawa loved football and recently was married. He, like his other brothers, began working as a porter for Western mountaineers. This was his second attempt to climb to the top of Everest.

"He made it to Camp II last year and this year he was done at base camp," says his brother.

Dawa leaves behind a 22-year-old wife, Phura Yangzi Sherpa, 22, and 18-year-old daughter Chiring Dolma.

CNN's Moni Basu

Journey to the epicenter

Sunil Bishokerma

Sunil Bishokerma and his brother are climbing to Barpak. The village west of Kathmandu is more than 6,500 feet above sea level and at the epicenter of the quake.

It's also home to the brothers' aunt and her family.

"We haven't had any communication," Sunil says. "I am very afraid."

Arriving in Barpak, they are met with the sounds of clanking and hammering as residents take on the task of rebuilding. The mountainside is dotted with white stones marking the graves of those who died.

Sunil asks people whether they have any news of his aunt and cousins. One woman tells him a girl died on their street.

The road leading to where his relatives lived is a cascade of debris. Sunil walks slowly, dreading what he may discover.

Moments later, he finds their tent, and his aunt runs out and throws herself into Sunil's arms.

"My God, they are OK," he says.

He tries to reassure her that, while they may have lost nearly everything, at least they are alive.

CNN's Arwa Damon and Samson Karki

Rescued at 101

Funchu Tamang

A 101-year-old man was rescued from under the rubble of his home in the Nuwakot district one week after the quake hit.

Funchu Tamang was in stable condition at a hospital just northwest of the capital, Kathmandu, officials said.

Police do not know how he survived or the extent of his injuries.

CNN's Jethro Mullen, Slma Shelbayah and Manesh Shrestha

A blow to the chest

Sabina Lama

She was thrust into an Indian helicopter that was distributing aid in Sindhupalchok, a hard-hit Nepalese district east of Kathmandu.

Sabina Lama, 18, wore a red T-shirt that read "Beach Beauty" and was cradled in a straw mat. She couldn't move or feel her legs.

She was badly injured in the earthquake after the ceiling collapsed at a health center she was visiting. She'd gone there to vaccinate her 1½-month-old baby.

As the chopper took flight, her husband sat helpless at her bare feet, holding their little boy.

Not long into the ride over the countryside, Lama lost her pulse. She'd gone into cardiac arrest. CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta was on the flight, and with no other tools available to him, he gave her a strong blow to the chest -- and Lama came to.

Stopping at a makeshift hospital high in the mountains, the helicopter crew picked up other patients and grabbed an IV drip to give Lama fluids. They strung the drip up in the helicopter, using a disposable face mask to tie it to the ceiling.

Onward the helicopter flew. This time to the airport in Kathmandu, where ambulances awaited.

CNN's Ben Tinker, Hilary Whiteman and Jessica Ravitz

Collapsing under her feet

Sarita Shrestha

School teacher Sarita Shreshta, 60, spends every Saturday with her sisters and elderly mother. April 25 was no different.

In the fifth floor of her mother's Kathmandu apartment, Shreshta had just sat down to lunch and taken a second bite of her dal bhat (rice and lentils). Then the rumbling started and Shreshta made a mad dash down the hallway. But she never made it to the stairwell. The building was collapsing under her feet.

"I was lucky," she says of her injuries on both her lower legs and feet.

She was pulled out of the rubble within minutes and rushed to a hospital. She says she is not worth interviewing.

"So many people are so much worse off than me," she says.

CNN's Moni Basu

Map of destruction

Sunir Pandey

He survived the earthquake by huddling under a concrete beam in a doorway and praying.

Sunir Pandey was at his uncle's place in west Kathmandu, about seven miles east of his family's home in Sifal.

The building held, but others nearby didn't.

"A brown dust-cloud rose from the ruins of cottages that had dotted the next hill," the freelance journalist wrote for CNN.

After making it outside, Pandey tried to reach friends and family. Calls didn't go through, but texts and emails did. He got in touch with everyone except his parents.

"Worried sick, I foolishly went into the house for a second time to get my belongings and leave for home."

The journey to Sifal, he says, "was a map of quake destruction."

Along the way, he met a cousin who had been taking a high school entrance exam when the quake hit.

"He kept wondering out loud whether he could retake the test."

Together, they reached Sifal. "I couldn't believe that our 30-year-old house was still standing."

Pandey found his parents unhurt and walked his cousin to his parents.

Despite warnings of more tremors, Pandey said, his parents decided against sleeping in a nearby football field with other families on plastic mattresses under rudimentary tents.

"Instead, their tactic was to stay on the ground floor, be awakened by tremors, and then scamper to a corner of our garden that seemed relatively safe.

"I did not sleep a wink."

Sunir Pandey

'At least we could be here'

Santosh Dawadi

Everything he had, 26-year-old Santosh Dawadi invested in a hotel in Kathmandu. It was the life he'd set out to build after six years of saving while working in Qatar.

But what he recently created has now crumbled. His hotel is in ruins, and his fingers are bandaged – the result of broken glass and dreams.

None of that mattered to him, though, as he traveled with his parents to their home village of Arkul Bazar in the Ghorka district, just 12 miles from the earthquake's epicenter. They'd come to check on his brother, who they'd been unable to reach and who still lives in the village with his family.

The news was good: Everyone in his family is safe.

That's somewhat remarkable, given that only one out of 36 homes in the village is now habitable. Those who live here have watched aid trucks fly by while heading toward the epicenter. They feel their needs have been left behind.

"We can't help, because we lost everything, too," says Dawadi. "But at least we could be here."

CNN's Arwa Damon, Jethro Mullen and Jessica Ravitz

Crushed by oxygen

Kiran Bikram Shah

Kiran Bikram Shah had not visited his ailing cousin in several months. Friday, his cousin called him a couple of times but Shah didn't answer. When the phone rang again Saturday morning Shah felt guilty, and even though he was feeling lazy that morning he decided to go visit.

The two were talking at his cousin's Kathmandu home when the earth began moving. Shah, 58, fell to the ground and within seconds, the enormous oxygen cylinder his cousin uses crushed Shah's right lower leg and foot.

Then the oxygen monitoring system began to ping. Shah tried to get up, putting weight first on his left foot. But when he tried to stand, he felt excruciating pain. He knew his right foot was shattered.

He crawled on all fours, backwards out of the house and cried for help, he says. He yelled for a taxi and got a ride to a nursing home, but his injuries were too great to treat there. After a few hours, a police van dropped him off at the gate of Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital.

Shah says he happened to know one of the doctors and was lucky enough to be treated fairly quickly. Doctors operated on his leg Tuesday. He's been told that he suffered a serious compound break and will remain in hospital for at least a month.

CNN's Moni Basu

Blacked out on a bus

Narpe Thami

Narpe Thami, 36, was on his way to Kathmandu from his village in Kodari, near the epicenter of the earthquake, when it struck. The bus, as is typical for these parts, was jam-packed and Thami had to stand the entire way to the capital.

He remembers the bus going at a pretty good speed when he heard a loud noise. A boulder had hit the bus smack in the middle, he says. People began jumping out. Thami fell to the floor. He blacked out after that.

He suffered severe neck, head and back injuries and can't move anything now except parts of his face and his arms. He hasn't been able to speak with his wife and three children. He lies all day on a hospital bed, his neck in a brace. The rare time that he speaks is when he cries for a bottle of water and a straw.

CNN's Moni Basu

Pretending to be a doctor

Ramprasad Nepal

Ramprasad Nepal, 32, was on the roof of his house in Nuwakot, north of Kathmandu, when the quake struck. The entire house shook violently and he could see other structures around him starting to crumble.

He thought he would die if he stayed put, so he jumped about 30 feet to the ground. In doing so, he broke his right leg. He managed to take himself to the local hospital, but it had also sustained damage, he says. Instead, he bought painkillers and gauze at a pharmacy and pretended to be a doctor.

That was how it was for two days when he finally found a bus that agreed to carry him to Kathmandu. The normal fare is 140 Nepalese rupees; he paid 700.

The doctors, he says, told him they needed to operate on his leg. But in the overwhelmed Tribhuvan Teaching Hospital, it hasn't happened yet. Friday evening at 6, Ramprasad Nepal was hungry. He had not been allowed to eat because of pending surgery.

"It's been six days now. I'm frustrated," he says. "The doctors, I wish they would give me a straight answer."

CNN's Moni Basu

Freed after five days

Krishna Devi Khadka

She worked as a cook in a Kathmandu hotel. After the quake struck, she spent the next five days trapped on the ground floor of the seven-story building.

Krishna Devi Khadka, 24, was breathing and had her eyes open when she was pulled from the rubble.

Sniffer dogs had detected her presence. A 37-strong Norwegian search and rescue team responded, and after an eight-hour effort, she was freed.

Rescuers said she would survive.

CNN's Sugam Pokharel

A pastor is found

Nakul Tamang

He climbs a ladder leaning against what's left of the church, looking for a way inside the ruined facade, looking for his father.

Rescue teams stop Nakul Tamang before he can reach the top. The building is not secure, they tell him, but Tamang doesn't care.

The seven-story building in Kathmandu was home to a congregation of about four dozen people, and Tamang's father was their pastor. He is buried somewhere under the rubble.

Six bodies had already been pulled from the concrete and steel wreckage when Tamang's father is found alive. He is rushed away for treatment.

"It's sad," says Tamang, surveying the damage. "It's hard."

CNN's Arwa Damon, Gul Tuysuz, Euan McKirdy and Steve Goldberg

Beside the ruins

Maili Tamang

She sits close to the ruins of the home she built with her late husband and flicks away flies from the bloodied bandage on her outstretched leg.

When the earthquake hit, Maili Tamang, 62, was in her house in Ravi Opi, a small village community 20 miles east of Kathmandu. She made it onto a small balcony, but it collapsed in the next tremor. She crawled out of the rubble and up an embankment, into a new world she can't yet comprehend.

"I just want to cry," she said. "All I feel is hurt."

CNN's Arwa Damon, Euan McKirdy and Jessica Ravitz

'The most beautiful place'

Tom Taplin

Just two days before the massive quake, filmmaker Tom Taplin ventured into the Khumbu Icefall, considered one of the most treacherous obstacles en route to Mount Everest.

Mountaineers have always approached the icefall with awe and apprehension. Taplin, 61, was there filming a documentary on the Everest base camp.

"Today, we went into the lower part of the icefall," he texted his wife. "It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen."

That was the last message Cory Freyer received from her husband.

Taplin was an experienced mountaineer and skier. "He had a great love of the wilderness and the mountains and extreme landscapes. He and I together have traveled to Patagonia and Antarctica. He has been on some amazing adventures with friends."

Among those adventures: climbing Mount McKinley; attempting to scale Aconcagua, an Argentine mountain that's the highest outside of Asia; and trekking up Ama Dablam, one of the most beautiful peaks in the Himalayas.

But he was mostly known for his larger-than-life personality and a devotion to friends that was said to be epic. He was a film student in the 1970s at the California Institute of the Arts and stayed in touch with about a dozen friends who graduated together.

"He was sort of a thread who kept us together," says classmate Marika van Adelsberg.

He and Cory first began dating in 1986. It was a romance that began simply. "I met his mother. She said, 'You live in Los Angeles. You should meet my son, Tom.' "

They lived together more than 20 years before deciding to get hitched three years ago. They went to the justice of the peace in Denver, with his mom, Bea, as the witness.

"We just decided it was something good to do."

Her last image of her husband was he and his two colleagues lugging 18 bags of equipment and clothing into the airport in late March. She gave him "a big hug goodbye with expectations of seeing him at the beginning of June."

They reached the Everest base camp on April 14. He called her the next day.

"It was a pretty monumental thing to actually hear from him," she says. "To hear his voice. We are such good companions – just to hear his voice was very wonderful. It makes me feel like I'm there with him."

CNN's Wayne Drash

Saved by a beam

Tanka Maya Sitoula

A 40-year-old mother of four, Tanka Maya Sitoula was at home in Kathmandu when the quake struck, bringing a five-story apartment building down on her ground floor unit.

For the next 36 hours, she would remain trapped, protected from harm by a beam.

She couldn't move; there wasn't room. She had to lie flat. But she knew she would survive.

"I heard people making noise outside, so I thought I would be rescued," she said.

Her husband, Mahendra, a butcher, was equally convinced.

"I never stopped calling her. And also from down below she was making sounds, and I could hear her," he said. "I was confident that my wife was safe and sound."

It took 18 hours before a rescue team from India arrived with the tools needed to cut through the metal debris. And then another 18 hours to free her.

"She was happy," said Karam Singh, an inspector with the Indian team. "So, so happy."

CNN's Tim Hume, Pamela Boykoff and Steve Goldberg

All that's left of Prati

Mahesh Koiraba

The father felt the force of the tremor while tilling the fields. He ran back to his house in Ravi Opi, a village 20 miles outside Kathmandu, to see what was left. There Mahesh Koiraba, 31, found the remains of his only daughter, 2-year-old Prati.

“I started digging with my hands,” said the still shell-shocked father. “And I saw her. Blood was trickling from her mouth, and she was covered with cuts.”

He pulled out his phone to show an image of his daughter he’d rather remember. The photo is of a chubby-faced toddler wearing oversized sunglasses.

It is all he has left of his only girl.

CNN’s Arwa Damon, Euan McKirdy and Jessica Ravitz

Her happy place

Marisa Eve Girawong

Just a couple of hours before the earthquake and the avalanche that would kill her, 28-year-old Marisa Eve Girawong fantasized about sushi.

"Day 28 on this arduous journey, snow is falling & my food cravings are at an all time high," she wrote on Facebook. "Is a crunchy spicy tuna roll with eel sauce too much to ask for?"

Girawong, who went by her middle name, was a physician's assistant who focused on trauma and wilderness medicine. The avid climber and mountaineer was working as a base camp doctor for Madison Mountaineering when she died, according to the Seattle-based company. She was also working on a master's degree in mountain medicine at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom, the site said. She was from Edison, New Jersey.

Her Facebook page features pictures of her proud and prized moments: rappelling on a glacier, reaching the camp after trekking through 12 inches of snow, celebrating her highest point yet at 18,300 feet. And scenery shots of her Everest journey that are postcard perfect.

"I can't think of anything that makes me as happy or peaceful as being out here," she wrote.

CNN's Jessica Ravitz

Seeing beyond Google

Dan Fredinburg

Dan Fredinburg worked on some of Google's most forward-thinking initiatives, from driverless cars to Google Glass. He traveled to Mount Everest on a soul-searching trip to better understand his physical and mental boundaries – and to take Google's Street View to new heights.

He was raising money for two orphanages in Nepal as part of his adventure. A photograph near Mount Everest, taken a day before the quake, shows Fredinburg smiling with sunglasses on and holding a sign: "Neat."

Four weeks earlier, he posted a photograph on Instagram with his gear. "Now spending some time thinking about how this year's climb can be as impactful as possible! #Everest

"Dan was one-of-a-kind. He was an incredible brother, a brilliant engineer, and a damn good man. We are devastated but simultaneously so deeply grateful to have known and loved him," says his crowd-sourcing page, "Celebrating Dan".

His girlfriend Ashley Arenson remembered him this way: "He had this way of making the people around him just feel special without even trying, and make people feel like they could accomplish anything they wanted."

Having begun his Google career in 2007, Fredinburg was known as a rising star at the company. He was a multitasker, working on many initiatives at once. One was devoted to helping social entrepreneurs use the latest technology to make a difference in the world.

Actress Sophia Bush dated Fredinburg for a year. "Today I find myself attempting to pick up the pieces of my heart that have broken into such tiny shards, I'll likely never find them all," Bush wrote Saturday on Instagram.

Fredinburg was known for his over-the-top adventures. For the last three years, he and about 30 friends spent New Year's Eve in out-of-the way places: one year on a private island in Panama, another year on a pirate ship in the Maldives.

"Everyone was doing something that was influencing the world," says his friend Miki Agrawal, "and he was right in the middle of it."

CNN's Wayne Drash

Hoping for protection

Narayan Gurung

Sheer hope keeps Narayan Gurung going: the belief that his wife and 7-year-old are still alive, trapped somewhere inside what was once a five-story building.

It was pink with wrought balconies. Now it is pancaked, reduced to a third of its height, a mess of rubble and reinforced steel.

Officials tell onlookers there is a chance that survivors might have been protected in a corridor as the building came down around them.

A day after the earthquake struck, a woman was found under the debris. Unhurt, in shock, but alive.

"I raced here after the earthquake," Gurung says. "I haven't slept for days."

As rescuers dig through the rubble, they spot someone's hair — a possible sign of hope. But they can't reach the body or tell if it's male or female. For Gurung, now in tears, it's too much. All he remembers is how happy he and his family were.

CNN's Arwa Damon, Gul Tuysuz, Euan McKirdy and Steve Goldberg

Alive but in pain

Jon Keisi

He was buried for more than 60 hours under the wreckage of a seven-story building in Kathmandu.

Rescue workers from Turkey had to help carve a tunnel deep into the debris to reach him.

Once they did, Jon Keisi was placed in an orange stretcher and lifted to safety.

But he cried out in pain after his rescuers set him down, shaking his head from side to side. One of the searchers who crowded around him called for water.

Keisi was injured and dehydrated, but the rescuers said they were confident he would survive.

CNN's Jethro Mullen, Elizabeth Joseph and Steve Goldberg

A cry for help

Sonies Awal

He's only been in the world for five months, but he's already exhibited the power of persistence.

Sonies Awal and his 10-year-old sister, Soniya, were buried alive when their home in Muldhoka, Bhaktapur, east of the capital Kathmandu, collapsed in the earthquake.

Their mother was on her way back from shopping. Rasmila Awal returned just in time to see the multi-story building reduced to rubble. Her children had been on the second floor.

"I started screaming and asking neighbors for help," she said. "I didn't hear anything, didn't know if they were alive or not."

Her husband, a microbus driver, rushed home from work. Sham Awal began digging frantically through the debris, searching for his children. Neighbors came to help.

"I had very little hope that they had survived," Rasmila said. "I didn't hear any sound at all."

After two hours, Soniya was found alive. But baby Sonies was still missing.

Desperate, the family called the Nepalese army. Soldiers arrived at 6 p.m. They, too, dug through the rubble but failed to find the boy. They left at 9 p.m.

Then, from under the bricks, came faint cries. But night had fallen, and there was little the family could do.

"If he's destined to live, he will," a neighbor told Rasmila. "Or else God will take him away."

After spending the night in a nearby field, the Awals returned to the remains of their home -- and the continued cries of their child.

The soldiers resumed digging. And 22 hours after the quake, Rasmila saw a soldier pull her baby from the debris. His face was coated with dust. But he was alive.

Sonies was taken to a nearby hospital. Doctors said he suffered minor bruising and a small cut on his thigh. But he was OK. He was returned to his mother's arms.

"He just started smiling," Rasmila said.

His rescue has given hope to a grieving nation -- and family: Sham's sister-in-law and her children, who lived nearby, died in the disaster.

CNN's Elizabeth Joseph, Jethro Mullen, Don Melvin and Steve Goldberg

The pressure is off

Selena Dohal

An ambulance arrives at Kathmandu's Bir Hospital. An 8-year-old girl with a blackened eye and bloody bandages around her head is rushed inside in a wheelchair.

Selena Dohal was at home when the earthquake hit, fracturing her skull.

"She went to get some water and a house collapsed on her head," her grandfather, Ram Prasad Duhal, said.

She spent hours in the rubble before being rescued. She needs the skills of the surgeons at Bir if she's to survive.

Duhal accompanied his granddaughter to Bir from Panchhkal, about 30 miles to the east. The journey took more than a day.

Selena is dazed and clearly in pain, but an examination of her CT scan reveals how dire her situation is. Her brain is swelling. Without immediate surgery, she'll have permanent damage -- or die.

"She was badly crushed," says neurosurgeon Bikesh Khambu. "The roof of the house was on her."

Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent and a practicing neurosurgeon, is reporting from Bir and is asked to assist in Selena's operation. Working in conditions like those found in war zones, the surgeons remove bone from Selena's skull to relieve the swelling.

The operation is a success, and her prognosis is good. It might not look it, Gupta says, but Selena is one of the lucky ones.

CNN's Tim Hume and Steve Goldberg

Trapped with the dead

Rishi Khanal

Rishi Khanal beat the odds.

He survived a staggering 80 hours with both legs broken, alone in a room with three dead bodies, deep inside the ruins of a seven-story apartment building on the outskirts of Kathmandu.

A French search and rescue team found Khanal, 28, by using equipment that detects signs of life, a Nepalese spokesman said. Most people trapped by disaster can last only 72 hours without food and water.

It took 10 hours to pull him out of the rubble, said Pushparam K.C of the Armed Police Force of Nepal. Khanal had been on the second floor when the quake hit. With the top floors intact, the team drilled down through concrete after Khanal shouted for help and responded to questions.

A doctor involved in his rescue, Akhilesh Shrestha, told Reuters: "It was because of his sheer willpower that he survived."

CNN's Jethro Mullen, Elizabeth Joseph and Steve Goldberg

Escape but still a bad dream

Kanchi Tamang

Kanchi Tamang, 45, stares straight ahead. She's a tiny woman bundled up tightly in gauze and bandages.

She lies on her back at a brand new trauma center in Kathmandu, built with the help of funding from India. Her shoulder is dislocated.

If it had not been raining last Saturday, she might not have been inside her home. But as it were, the entire house fell on top of her. When the earth was still again, she was trapped under dirt and debris but could see light in a corner. She may be tiny, but she was strong enough to claw her way out of the rubble.

Her husband, Maila Tamang, came running home from the market. He carried her to the hospital.

"We don't have money. Now we don't have a house. We don't know what to do," he said.

The couple has six grown children. They have not heard from any of them.

"We don't even know if they are alive," he said. "It feels like a bad dream."

One that may not end for a long time.

CNN's Moni Basu

A new peace of mind

Vinh Truong

When his friends first got to know him growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, Vinh Truong was the quirky one. He had a Yoda laugh and often preferred to climb through windows than walk through doors.

He made his friends laugh and was easy to be with. He was adventurous, upbeat and even-keeled. He wasn't "the life of the party," but Truong, who immigrated to America from Vietnam as a toddler, was the sort of guy they always wanted around.

Just last month, the 48-year-old IT manager for Kaiser Permanente had flown from his Sunnyvale, California, home to reunite with three of his four old friends. It had become a tradition of theirs to meet up in Austin, Texas, where one of the guys lives, and catch the music at SXSW.

"He seemed the happiest we had ever seen him: good friends, new girlfriend, and the trip of a lifetime coming up," his friends said in a group Facebook post. "He had a new sense of self-assurance and peace."

That trip of a lifetime: his first journey to Nepal.

At 5-foot-2, Truong was "built like a Sherpa," his friend Lawrence Page said. He was an avid runner and hiker, stocky but fit – no "middle-age spare tire" for him – and ready for his 10-day trek in the Himalayas.

The peace and camaraderie of hiking mountains brought Truong joy, said Page. Their friend had come into his own.

Pictures Truong posted on Facebook on April 22 captured breath-taking scenery of his ascent toward the Everest Base Camp. Three days later, he was hit by an avalanche caused by the massive earthquake. He died aboard a helicopter while being evacuated.

On Monday night, after they learned he was gone, the surviving four friends, who are scattered across the country, came together on a conference call. They swapped stories about their dear and quirky friend and honored his memory by each raising a glass. In Page's was an 18-year-old Scotch he'd first opened with Truong in Austin six years ago.

"If he had to die," his friends wrote on Facebook, "then at least he went while happy and doing what he loved."

CNN's Jessica Ravitz

Of faith and miracles

Pemba Tamang

He was buried for five days under a building that pancaked, chunks of the collapsed structure hanging precariously on rebar.

He survived because of a motorcycle that shielded him from the pressure of the concrete and steel, his rescuer said -- and "by good faith."

A large crowd erupted in cheers as 15-year-old Pemba Tamang was pulled from the rubble of a multistory residential building in one of Kathmandu's hard-hit neighborhoods.

He emerged on a yellow stretcher, wearing a New York shirt and blue neck brace. He was blanketed by dust and had the look of a deer in the headlights. He cried for water in a muffled voice.

His rescuer, Inspector Lakshman Basnet of the Nepalese Armed Police Force, said Tamang was responsive and showed no apparent signs of serious injury.

He was given an IV drip and rushed from the Gongapur area to a temporary emergency hospital run by an Israeli aid team.

Nepalese rescuers had been working for five hours to locate Tamang after they heard his voice buried under the debris.

Basnet said once he got closer to Tamang, he tried to reassure the young man that he would be OK.

"I gave him water and talked to him regularly," Basnet said.

Dennis Bautista, who went down where Tamang was buried to administer medical aid, called the rescue amazing.

"I can't imagine what he went through," Bautista said. "He is a brave young man."

Andrew Olvera, head of a U.S. disaster team that was nearby and rushed to help, said the operation carried enormous risks.

Entire floors of what used to be people's homes were visible --ceiling fans and beds still draped with cotton sheets. It was a mountain of loss and sorrow.

"The way the building is, it's definitely a miracle," Olvera said.

CNN's Moni Basu

Saving the orphans

Ishwor Ghimire

Ishwor Ghimire, 19, was having lunch with dozens of children in the Kathmandu orphanage where he too once lived when the ground began to shake.

"It was frightening. All the children started crying and screaming. I was like … what am I going to do now?"

He told the older children to run outside. The others who were too young -- or too scared -- to run, he carried out to safety.

The children gathered in the vegetable path -- all 55 of them -- while Ghimire went back inside the building to check that no one had been left behind.

Five days later, they're all living under a plastic tarp in a shelter they made from bamboo. They have blankets to protect themselves from the cold at night, but they're wet, tired and hungry.

"It's raining hard and getting cold. We are getting no help, we don't have food and water," he said.

Ghimire said they're surviving on rice and biscuits they managed to retrieve from the orphanage's storeroom.

"We don't have drinking water, and I have to go out to search for it every day. It's hard to find drinking water in the shops as well. It's getting harder and harder."

CNN's Judy Kwon and Hilary Whiteman

Sheltering the vulnerable

Anuradha Koirala

She rescues victims of sex trafficking and provides homes for hundreds of young women and girls around Kathmandu.

When the quake struck, Anuradha Koirala's first thought wasn't for herself.

"This disaster, the noise and the way it shook, I cannot get over it," she says. "I was not afraid that I was going to be killed. I was afraid about what is going to happen next."

Her rehabilitation center is home to 425 young women and girls. While it appears structurally unharmed, all of the children have been sleeping outdoors because of aftershocks.

"We are suffering with rain, strong wind. The fear is not gone from us. It is very, very hard," said Koirala, the founder of the nonprofit Maiti Nepal and the 2010 CNN Hero of the Year.

Still, she has offered to take in 200 other girls orphaned by the disaster.

"These girls are most vulnerable, because now people will target them," Koirala said. "They could be victims of any forms of sexual abuse. Maybe rape, maybe they will be trafficked, anything. ... If I get more support, I will take as many as I can."

About five miles away, the wall of Koirala's HIV/AIDS hospice has crumbled. Home to 115 girls, many of whom are terminally ill, the facility is under guard. Everything is broken.

"They're not injured, but they are terrified," Koirala said.

Her group also has about a dozen other homes throughout the district, and all of them have been damaged.

"It's really very sad for me and for my children," Koirala said.

CNN's Sumnima Udas, Kathleen Toner and Christie O'Reilly

Scared of everything

Asmira Gurung

Her sweet little face captured in one moment doesn't show what Asmira Gurung feels.

Since the earthquake hit, the 3-year-old girl has lived in a state of fear, her father says.

Even when a helicopter lands, kicking up winds and noise, she grows scared.

CNN's Arwa Damon, Samson Karki and Jessica Ravitz

Lives spared, but not home

Rasmaya Bishokerma

Rasmaya Bishokerma and her family of six survived the earthquake, but their home was destroyed.

They are among those now living in a tent in the village of Barpak at the epicenter of the quake.

CNN's Arwa Damon, Samson Karki and Jessica Ravitz

Three generations of love lost

Sum Bahadur Gurung

Sum Bahadur Gurung, 33, stands in the epicenter town of Barpak, a portrait of loss.

The earthquake killed his mother, his wife and his 3-month-old son.

CNN's Arwa Damon, Samson Karki and Jessica Ravitz

Dressed for mourning

Dhani Raj Ghale

The clouds hang overhead, and rubble is piled behind him. The traditional white mourning clothes he wears are soiled.

Still, Dhani Raj Ghale, 34, is dressed to honor his mother, who died in the village of Barpak, at the epicenter of the quake.

CNN's Arwa Damon, Samson Karki and Jessica Ravitz

Safe kids, scattered dreams

Pushpa Basnet

The parents are in prison. Now the children are sleeping on the ground, inside a greenhouse.

Pushpa Basnet provides a home and education for 45 kids whose parents are incarcerated.

But the quake cracked the walls at her Early Childhood Development Center, and the staff fears it might fall down.

She and the older children created a shelter using the frame of a greenhouse, taping plastic around the sides to protect themselves.

"It's really cold in the middle of the night; there are lots of fox in the field," Basnet said. "We are really scared."

They also don't have much water or food. But Basnet says she is trying to stay positive.

"I think for the time being, whatever we have, we should be happy, you know? Because at least we have our life," she said. "(My kids) all are safe. That's the most important thing for me."

Basnet's "Butterfly Home" -- the permanent residence she was building for the children -- also suffered extensive damage. Basnet had hoped to have it open by October. She had purchased the land for the home with prize money she received as CNN's 2012 Hero of the Year.

"When the earthquake hit that land, all my dreams were scattered," she said. "I have to restart again."

CNN's Sumnima Udas, Kathleen Toner and Christie O'Reilly

Rebuilding amid loss

Dhanivam Gurung

Dhanivan Gurung lost his youngest child, 11-year-old Sunta, when their home in the village of Barpak, at the quake's epicenter, collapsed.

But even as this father suffers such loss, he struggles to look ahead.

With his two surviving sons, he is cleaning up and trying to rebuild the home that was.

CNN's Arwa Damon, Samson Karki and Jessica Ravitz

Salvaging what she can


Standing atop the rubble of her home in Mandre, a village near the quake's epicenter, Mikhol tries to salvage what little she can.

She was in the fields with her two children when the massive earthquake struck, and that's likely what saved their lives.

As for what she's been able to save from the mess that was their home, so far she's only found a pair of her daughter's shoes and a stuffed toy.

CNN's Arwa Damon, Samson Karki and Jessica Ravitz

An agonizing journey

This 65-year-old man has a severe back injury and rests at a makeshift clinic set up by a paragliding group and volunteers.

Carried down a mountain on a flimsy homemade stretcher, his was an agonizing three-hour journey to this Gorkha district valley northwest of Kathmandu.

CNN's Arwa Damon, Samson Karki and Jessica Ravitz

No way to get aid


With colorful blankets heaped on and around her, 13-year-old Sarmila lies under a tarp next to her demolished home.

Her back was crushed after a wall collapsed on top of her, and she can barely walk.

There is no medical aid available in Kavre, where she lives in the Gorkha district, nor is there a way to get down the mountain to find help.

What this will mean for Sarmila remains uncertain.

CNN's Arwa Damon, Samson Karki and Jessica Ravitz

Cradling her consolation

Miru and Sanjita

On the road to Barpak, a village at the earthquake's epicenter, Miru is spotted cradling her youngest child, Sanjita.

The mother says her daughter was dug out from the rubble of their home. The family has lost everything.

That Sanjita emerged unharmed is Miru's great and only consolation.

CNN's Arwa Damon, Samson Karki and Jessica Ravitz