FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The prime minister of Nepal said he fears the death toll in his country could reach 10,000. Around 5,000 are confirmed dead after Saturday’s massive earthquake.
Food and water are in short supply in Kathmandu. Thousands remain camped-out in the tents because they said they don’t trust the buildings are safe during aftershocks. Crews are using high tech cameras to search for survivors. Tuesday, they rescued a man who had been trapped for three days. On Mount Everest, most hikers who survived a deadly avalanche after the quake are starting their journey back. The government said it may close the mountain for the rest of the season.
As the number of causalities rises, aid continues to pour in. IPFW students are getting involved and asking for help.
IPFW has around 250 international students, and several of them are from Nepal. They represent Club Kathmandu, the university’s Nepalese student association. The club’s members said they want to raise as much support for their home country as they can during this disaster.
“It’s so tough for us to be so far and see them suffering,” Club Kathmandu president Geeta Buda said. “Everybody is traumatized. They are trying to be strong, but how strong can you be? We just hope and pray that it doesn’t get worse from here.”
Geeta Buda came to Fort Wayne two years ago and hasn’t been back home to Nepal since.
“Kathmandu is my town- my parents place, my in-laws place, and my family,” Buda said.
When she heard about the 7.8 magnitude earthquake, she said she felt helpless.
“The first thing that came to my mind- are they alive or not? I freaked out because I tried to contact everybody like my sisters, my cousins, my friends, my in-laws, but I couldn’t get a hold of anybody. It was 7.8 Richter scale and Kathmandu is very crowded,” Buda said.
When she looks at the images of a place once so familiar now almost unrecognizable, she said it’s very emotional.
“My heart cries out loud to see these pictures. It’s terrible,” Buda said.
Buda’s sister was supposed to get married next month. She was running errands for the wedding when the earthquake hit.
“My sister, she said that they were out to get her wedding invitation cards printed and then a house fell down in front of them,” Buda said.
Geeta’s in-laws house is destroyed, but she said she’s just grateful everyone in her family survived.
“Buildings can be made again, but the people who died- we cannot bring them back,” Buda said.
Buda is a graduate student in the Department of Biology at IPFW. To show support for her and Nepal, the department has placed “Pray for Nepal” signs in every door in the building.
“I couldn’t even believe the response and the support that we are getting,” Buda said.
Club Kathmandu is also sponsoring a donation drive to raise money for the earthquake victims.
“Whatever money and cash we can collect from here, we are thinking to buy protein bars, energy biscuits, masks, chlorine tablets,” Buda said. “I just want to go there and help them in any way that I can. Whatever we can do in a small way, in a big way, that will be a big help to mankind.”
Fund Drive for Nepal Earthquake Victims
- IPFW Alumni Plaza, Near the Mastodon Statue
- April 28 – April 30
- 10:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.
Vigil for Nepal Earthquake Victims
- IPFW Alumni Plaza, Near the Mastodon Statue
- April 30
- 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Donations can also be made on this site.
Geeta already planned to go back to Nepal on Monday for her sister’s wedding. That’s since been canceled, but she’s still going and will bring the donations with her when she travels back to Kathmandu on Monday.
IPFW’s Office of International Education is also working with Club Kathmandu to raise funds and support for the earthquake victims.
“Nepal being thousands of miles away, half way around the world, it’s not really something a lot of us think about day to day and how even those in the Fort Wayne community can be impacted by such a devastating event that far away. With your support, the community support, the IPFW community here, we’re really looking forward to helping these students get beyond this disaster and move forward,” office director Brian Mylrea said.
Mylrea said his office unfortunately has previous experience in dealing with these types of tragedies and natural disasters.
“We had similar relief efforts when the huge earthquake struck in Haiti. Prior to that, there was the tsunami in Sri Lanka and South Asia. We had similar fundraising efforts at that time. I guess you could say because of our experience doing that, we have the means to kind of bring the IPFW and the Fort Wayne community together in times of need like this,” Mylrea said.