Murray State Professor's Relatives Okay After Nepal Quake, Asks Community for Relief Aid
It's about 8,000 miles from Murray, Kentucky to Kathmandu, Nepal. Dr. Manoj Pathak, a Murray State professor from Nepal, encourages each of us to give to help Nepalese citizens struggling with the aftermath of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake last Saturday morning. Its destructive force caused about 1.7 million children and 8 million adults to need urgent help. Even $1 dollar makes a difference, he says. Kate Lochte learns from Dr. Pathak that while his family in Nepal is safe, life there is miserable.
Dr. Pathak's hometown is a 16-hour drive from the capital by bus, located in the eastern plains near the border to India. He woke up at 5 a.m. Saturday morning and turned on the news to see the massive earthquake. Immediately, he tried to contact his family. It took four hours to reach them due to poor connection, likely due to network traffic to and from the country.
He spoke with them and learned they were safe. His mother says she first noticed the earthquake while in the bathroom. She came out and couldn't stand because the ground was shaking so much, so she sat down to wait it out over the course of one minute. His family has been coping, but Dr. Pathak says it's the most stressful time in his entire life. Looking at the images of people under the rubble on TV is mentally stressful. Though his family is safe, there have been numerous aftershocks from 4.5 to 6.5 magnitude shaking the country, followed by continuous raining and a drop in temperature.
After six days, the death toll surpassed 6,000 people. Most of the data comes from the capital city and surrounding area, Dr. Pathak says. In the remote villages the estimates haven't really come in yet. He has heard reports that many remote mountain villages have been wiped out. In one village, he says, there were 1,200 houses and now only 4 are still standing.
He says he wishes he could to back to help, but coming in and out of their airport is difficult, and it's hard to get supplies into the country. He's been reaching out the community asking for contributions. Children need food, water, primary care and shelter, he says - and that even one dollar can make a difference.
Nepal native Dr. Manoj Pathak teaches in the Math and Statistics Department at Murray State University.