05/04/2015 04:38 pm ET Updated May 04, 2015

How Abandoned Nepal Earthquake Survivors 'United' To Rescue One Another

David Ramos via Getty Images

On the third day after the earthquake, the village of Swarathok buried its dead. The aftershocks were less frequent and less powerful. The initial chaos and fear had given way to grief and anxiety. The men, women and children of the small community high in the hills 50 miles northeast of Kathmandu wrapped the seven bodies in makeshift shrouds and carried them down through terraced fields and woods to the fast-flowing river.

There the remains of the four children, all very small, and three adults were cremated according to traditional Hindu rites. Then the 500 villagers walked back up the steep slope to their homes, or what was left of them. Almost all the 83 houses lay in ruins.