Vancouver’s Nepalese community reeling over news of earthquake

Dec 19 2017, 10:57 pm

Members of Metro Vancouver’s Nepalese community are on edge with details still scare about Saturday morning’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal.

Abi Sharma of Vancovuer’s Cafe Kathmandu says the worst part is not knowing the situation on the ground.

“Oh we are extremely worried – we don’t know what’s happening and hearing the rumours floating around – and then seeing some of the images – some of us I know haven’t slept at all.”

Sharma says getting through by phone has been impossible so far because of the damage, along with many people calling at once.

But he says information is circulating in the community that the airport isn’t functioning and roads and buildings are badly damaged.

He says virtually all of Vancouver’s two-thousand or-so Nepali immigrants have close family in the country; many in Kathmandu where the death toll has been highest.

And in the wake of the quake, the Canadian Red Cross says the best way to help is to donate cash.

BC and Yukon director Kimberly Nemrava says that’s because financial donations can be quickly directed to trained crews already on the ground.

“The most effective way to respond is to actually have local people supported by specialists who have experience in this area.”

Nemrava says members of the Nepalese red cross are on the ground already providing first aid — rescue — and blood services. She says the priority now is on saving lives — with public health and housing issues to be the next challenge.

The 7.8 magnitude quake struck early this morning about 80 kilometers Northwest of Kathmandu. The bulk of the casualties have been in that city.

People looking to donate can go to the Red Cross’s website, or, they can call 1-800-418-1111.

Donations can also be dropped off during regular office hours at your local Red Cross office.

At least 2,200 people have been killed, including 17 people in an earthquake-triggered avalanche at Mount Everest, but this figure is expected to grow. Another 5,000 people are injured.

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