SEYMOUR (WATE) – Homes, businesses, and temples crumbled just weeks ago across the world in Nepal during a magnitude 7.8 earthquake.
The death toll has risen into the thousands as rescuers continue searching for people who may have been killed or were hurt. One East Tennessee man was inside an airport in Nepal while the world around him rocked.
Tim Cole says he’s been volunteering all over the world for the last eight years. He didn’t plan on going to Nepal with his volunteer group, but life is full of curve balls. His mission changed as soon as he stepped off the plane because of the earthquake.
“It was like you were on a board on water, and it’s going up and down and around. It was very difficult, people were running. I’m afraid this old man when he was running, I might not make it,” he said.
Cole took photos of four or five story buildings that turned into pile of rubble.
Slideshow: East Tenn. man returns from Nepal
“This over here were some of the people out there away from the buildings. Even if their building wasn’t hurt or was livable, they were outside. They wouldn’t go in for days,” said Cole.
Cole and his group drove to a nearby village, ready to volunteer.
“What needs to be done? Where can we help? What can we do?”
They brought in bottled water, snacks, blankets, and tents as a way to help.
“We had 400 tarpaulins, 150 blankets we’d purchased, and 2,400 pounds of rice to pass out,” added Cole.
Slideshow: Dramatic Nepal Survival Photos
It was a week full of aftershocks and tiresome work. Cole says leaving two days ago was bittersweet.
“You want to do more and you know you can’t do that much more. When we picked the one village and there was a need there, it was like the Lord telling us, “Now, this is where I want you,'” said Cole.
He brought home a newspaper as a keepsake and always remembers his time in Nepal through his favorite scripture.
“Romans 8:28, it says, ‘For we know that He causes all things to work for good for those who love Him and called according to His purpose.'”
Cole says for the first few nights of the trip, his hotel tried having guests sleep outside just in case another earthquake hit.
The U.S. is sending 45 tons of aid supply, a disaster team and a search and rescue team.