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Nepalese students work to raise money for earthquake victims

Nepalese students work to raise money for earthquake victims

Nepalese students work to raise money for earthquake victims
April 27
23:43 2015

Rhiannon Saegert / News Editor

In response to the earthquake that devastated Nepal last Saturday, UNT’s Nepalese Student Association is collecting money, supplies and food in an effort to help survivors.

The magnitude 7.8 earthquake destroyed homes in and around Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital. Survivors in city limits are relatively cut off, complicating relief efforts. Cultural monuments and historical sites near Kathmandu, many of which were on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s World Heritage list, were destroyed or damaged as well.

“Four thousand people are already declared dead. There is no contact, so we know the final number will be much, much higher,” physics graduate student Yuba Raj Poudel said. “All of the historical monuments are gone. More than 5 million people are still outside. They don’t have enough food.”

Even those with a home to return to can’t do so safely. The constant threat of aftershocks keeps earthquake survivors from going inside. As a result, most people are living in tents or without shelter, leaving them vulnerable. Poudel and Gyanendra Bohara are members of the association.They said they will table outside Willis Library this week to collect money and canned food. They also said several association members have family in Nepal who were affected by the earthquake.

“The incident happened Saturday. Yesterday we started collecting. Officially, we started collecting today on campus,” Poudel said. The association would also like to start collecting basic medical supplies and paint masks. “Survivors need all basic supplies. It’s a terrible condition,” Bohara said.

Poudel said the group is focusing on collecting canned food and money first because they believe transportation will be easier. The association is still deciding how to transport the aid to Nepal from Denton.

Bohara said once the association has collected money, the members will decide on a specific part of the affected area to send aid.

“They are focusing on the capital city, Kathmandu, but there are a lot of people outside Kathmandu who don’t have anything,” Bohara said. “We want to focus on one area where our help will be most effective.”

A GoFundMe account set up by the group has raised almost $3,000. UNT International is also collecting money. Donations can be made online at http://www.gofundme.com/swv5m4v.

Research assistant professor Rajan Rijal said if the amount of money collected isn’t substantial, the money will be donated to a larger organization sending aid to Nepal.

“Different departments are contacting us. For now, the students are collecting money, food and medical supplies,” International Center director Olga Grieco said. “There’s a pretty large Nepalese community in DFW, so we’re working with that community.”

Featured Image: The earthquake in Nepal causes people and employees in high rise buildings to move out on the street in Kolkata. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons 

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