Today's blogpost about the personal toll of the recent Nepal earthquake was written by Indira Manandhar, a graduate student in the Sustainable Design in Architecture program, and a native of Nepal. To learn more and see how you can help, please see this week's PID Newsletter or scroll down to the previous blogpost on ways to donate to the relief effort in Nepal.
Just half an hour before the earthquake, I talked with my mom and brother in Nepal. It was already midnight here when I saw news about the earthquake. Facebook was full of pictures with devastated monuments. When I saw the "Dharahara," a 9-story historic tower in Kathmandu, was flattened, I was sure it was not a prank. I tried to call my family, and messaged each and everyone I know in Nepal " R U There?" and kept waiting for their reply. Finally at 4 am, one of my relatives saw my message and informed me that my family is fine but that the other adjacent house of my house was destroyed. After this news, I became more desperate to talk with my family. We kept looking on the USGS website for earthquake updates. The aftershocks of more than 4 magnitude kept on going. There have been more than 60 aftershocks this week. I know it is the rainy season in Nepal. After the first quake, I started praying for no rain as it would make the condition worse. I could not handle that fear and pain alone here in US in that night. I shared on Facebook to get someone to talk, spread word and help Nepal: "Nature looted Nepal. We lost our heritage we had loved, taken care and proud of. We knew that it's gonna happen but not this soon..You could have given some time to prepare...RIP to those who lost their lives and much worried for all family and friends, still terrified and waiting for nature to calm down." My family and many others were out in open areas. It rained heavily that day and night in Nepal. They all are wet, hungry and cold outside. The aftershocks became more devastating, as they are making the weaker buildings fall down. My house is not livable now. As many servers, including T-mobile, Viber, and Skype, had made it free to call directly to Nepal mobile and landline numbers, it became a bit easier to at least direct my family and help them decide on further steps to take, get resources for help and make their stress a bit lighter as they are all in shock, and could not think properly about what and when and where. I regret I cannot be there with my family and Nepal at this moment.
Though my immediate family members are safe, countless people have lost many. I am very worried for the coming days' scarcity, crime and other epidemics. Nepal is not that technologically advanced. We are getting news that the government is not cooperating with relief funds and helping hands sent to the country. The local youth groups are more active than the government. I have been talking and sharing information with my friends who are architects professionally working in Nepal. They have started actively campaigning for low cost shelters for victims because, as per my friend, now tents are out of stock; there is no place to buy a tent in Kathmandu and shelter is the first priority for the victims. The capital city is in such mess, I cannot even think what might be happening to the other small villages. Food, clothes, and other medical supplies sent from international organizations and Nepalese from outside the country are all stuck in only one international airport due to the lack of proper direction for releasing those materials. Many small groups of Nepalese have already left from the USA with their own travel baggage full of the necessary materials so that they could at least help some victims on ground.
Nepal needs help not only in materials and funds but the proper organized planning for helping those victims.
Thank you U of M for keeping us in your prayers and thoughts. I am really thankful.