When the first earthquake hit Nepal in late April, the impact reached all the way to North Texas. Worried Nepalese-Americans checked in with friends and family. They organized relief efforts. A second earthquake struck a couple of weeks ago.
Bal Joshi with the Irving-based Nepalese Society of Texas just got back from Nepal and talks about what he saw.
Interview Highlights: Bal Joshi ...
... on the situation in Nepal: "It is almost impossible to explain in words. The situation in Nepal is just heartbreaking. Thousands of lives have been lost. Hundreds of thousands of kids are in the street; they may have their parents alive with them but because of the shelter, the house is gone, the schools are closed and hospitals are not functioning properly. Even the situation in Kathmandu, which is the capital city of Nepal, it is almost impossible there. But people are brave and Nepalese people are known for their bravery, and they are surviving.”
... on the greatest needs for Nepal: "Of course, their everyday needs, which is food and sheltering, and medication. The main need I think is to give them a temporary shelter because the monsoon season starts very soon. If they do not have a proper place to live, kids will get sick and then different types of disease will start to come through, and life will be very very impossible again."
... on the difficulty of recovery in remote areas: "It takes a couple of days to get to certain places from one to another. Areas where transportation is accessible, people are getting some help. We received some requests from some areas where helicopter is the only option, and it costs more than $2,000 an hour to rent a helicopter, which is very costly for an organization like ours and a lot of others. It will take a minimum of 15 to 20 years to get back to normal life with infrastructure and everything."
... on how people are coping with hundreds of aftershocks: "It's like if someone is closing a door and someone hears the noise of that door, they will think it's an earthquake. Even people are scared with the vibration of their cell phone, they think it's an aftershock. It's hard to get into a normal life. When I was coming back, I was on an airplane and I think I was taking a nap, I was having a nightmare, just thinking of earthquake. Living that life is very hard."
Bal Joshi is a leader with the Irving-based Nepalese Society of Texas.
How to help
The Nepalese Society of Texas is accepting donations to help with relief efforts in Nepal. Learn more here.