Saturday, April 25, 2015 10:56PM
KATHMANDU, Nepal (KTRK) — A powerful earthquake killed at least 1,865 people across the Himalayan region, and rocking family members and loved ones across the world. A number of Houstonians scrambled to reach relatives as they heard the news.
After the crippling, magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit Nepal, some in Houston panicked, worried about their families back home. One man had a friend track his parents down because he couldn’t get through on the phone.
Vishnu Nepal, Secretary, Nepalese Association of Houston, explained, “I called him using Facebook and he went to my house but he didn’t find my parents there. He finally found them somewhere on the outskirts in the open field.”
“When I dialed first, it rang all 16 times, but nobody picked up. And then when that happened, it was even more scarier,” said Jyoti Ghimirey, President, Nepalese Association of Houston. “But when I tried, second, when I tried third, that’s when my mom picked so that’s when she told me everybody’s fine.
The earthquake demolished buildings and entire streets, leaving much of the nation in rubble.
Here in Houston, all those we talked with were able to find their family on the other end of the telephone, alive. One man, however, did lose his childhood home.
“I didn’t care about the house but I asked about the mom,” said Deepak Uprety. “My mother, she’s ok, then I feel good. House is gone but my mom is safe, that’s why I feel good.
And now the local effort is building. The Nepalese Association of Houston is raising money as are others.
Abdullah Elasmar with Helping Hand for Relief and Development said, “I couldn’t imagine even how I’d feel if I had a family member trapped in a building of just rubble and I can hear their voice but I can’t get to them.”
Young volunteers of Helping Hand spent their Saturday organizing clothing so they could send care packages to Nepal. They’re also asking for change — nickels for Nepal.
Volunteer Afifa Mazhar said, “I really want to do something for them and I don’t think I can do anything other than this, anything better, if I can’t help them with money, this is the least I can do.”
“I know we can’t give back the lives that were taken and the disaster that happened but at least we can give them hope and give them a smile,” said Fatimah Rafati with Helping Hand for Relief and Development.
Visit Helping Hand for Relief and Development to donate for the victims of this disaster. Helping Hand for Relief and Development is a division of ICNA.
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. It serves as both a reminder of one of the most traumatizing occurrences to unfold on American soil and as a testimony to the resilience of every community living here in America.