Anish Pokhrel (centre) with his parents (left) and his sister and brother-in-law. Pokhrel came to Surrey from Nepal to study engineering at SFU. Below is Dr. Pargat Singh Bhurji

Anish Pokhrel (centre) with his parents (left) and his sister and brother-in-law. Pokhrel came to Surrey from Nepal to study engineering at SFU. Below is Dr. Pargat Singh Bhurji

Nepal: Aftermath of an earthquake

A Surrey student learns his family is safe, while a Surrey doctor heads overseas to help.

An SFU Surrey student is breathing a sigh of relief after finding out his family members in Nepal are all safe following the devastating earthquake in that country on April 25.

Anish Pokhrel, a masters student in SFU’s Mechatronics engineering program, was at home at his apartment in New Westminster that day when around midnight his cellphone began to light up with numerous email messages and texts from friends and colleagues.

He immediately turned on the news and watched in horror as images of devastation in Nepal, the city of Kathmandu and surrounding areas were flashing across the screen. A 7.8-magnitude earthquake had struck, toppling landmarks, reducing villages to rubble, and triggering mudslides and avalanches.

(The death toll as of Wednesday had reached 7,500).

“I got really scared and I immediately tried to contact my family in Kathmandu, but all lines of communication were down. I couldn’t reach anyone for two or three hours,” said Pokhrel.

Eventually he was able to make contact with his uncle, who confirmed the devastation and gave him graphic details of some of the suffering. Finally, he made contact with his older sister Sarita and her husband and was told they were okay, but that she had been unable to reach their parents who lived 45 minutes away.

Because so many roads were damaged, his sister drove her motorcycle to her parents’ home and found them safe.

Although much of Nepal is heavily damaged, fortunately Pokhrel’s parents’ home was still standing.

“Everyone was living outside for a few days, but I was so relieved they were all okay,” he said. “My parents’ home looks fine from the outside, but they are still afraid (of aftershocks). They are back in the home but only on the first floor so if they have to leave in a hurry, they can get out.”

The plan is to have the home structurally inspected, but that could take time.

Pokhrel’s sister and brother-in-law were also lucky; the apartment they were living in sustained numerous cracks but is still standing. They have since moved into another house close by.

Pokhrel has been helping raise funds for earthquake relief through his school and the Nepalese community, along with attending candlelight vigils held in both Vancouver and Surrey last week.

Donations and help spreading the word are really what the people need right now, he said.

Surrey physician Dr. Pargat Singh Bhurji is on his way to Nepal to help care for the injured in the region. Bhurji, a local pediatrician and neonatologist, is heading to the city of Pokhara, 200 kilometres from Kathmandu, near the epicentre of the quake. He’s a veteran of numerous other natural disaster relief missions, including Haiti in 2010 and the tsunami in Sri Lanka in 2005.

“My main focus will be on premature babies, intensive care needs, newborn needs and children’s health – basically specialized medical care,” he said. “With the monsoon season coming, a lot of pregnant women need help and the suffering will take its toll.”

Bhurji will be working with AMDA (Asian Medical Doctor Association) and Rose Charities to provide volunteer doctors and nurses to assist in the area. He plans on volunteering for three weeks and then his colleague Dr. Collin Young will take his place. The nurses will come for a longer time.

Bhurji’s main goal will be to deal with pediatric infection, dehydration, asthma and newborn care, and the fact he speaks Hindi, which is close to the Nepalese language, should make for easier communication.

“This is what my passion is, to help, to serve basically,” he said.

Those wishing to help can donate to the Canadian Red Cross at www.redcross.ca, the B.C. Nepalese Cultural Society at ncsbc.org, or Rose Charities at rosecharities.org

 

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP is investigating after a serious three-vehicle crash at the intersection of King George Boulevard and 128th Street Thursday afternoon (May 6, 2021). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Police watchdog investigating serious collision in Surrey

Incident happend May 6 at King George Boulevard and 128th Street

Surrey Fire Service firefighters quickly contained a fire on 75A Avenue. (Shane MacKichan photos)
PHOTOS: Surrey firefighters extinguish second house fire in Newton

Second fire incident reported in Newton Sunday morning

Surrey RCMP are investigating two ‘suspicious’ fires in Newton Sunday morning. (Shane MacKichan photos)
(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

Vancouver Giants celebrated a Justin Sourdif goal Saturday night in Kamloops. Giants dropped a 3-1 decision to Kamloops, a game that clinched the 2020-21 B.C. Division banner for the Blazers. (Allen Douglas/special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Vancouver Giants drop 3-1 decision to Kamloops

Third-period rally should have come sooner, said coach of Langley-based team

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country’s crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
IHIT investigating after man killed in Burnaby shooting

Police looking for more information on fatal shooting

After Bobby Henderson apologized online for his comments to a Toronto reporter, the Langley Rivermen announced that he was no longer team coach and general manager and in fact, had ‘parted ways’ with the franchise in March. (file/Twitter)
Former Langley Rivermen coach and GM apologizes for comments to Toronto reporter

Bobby Henderson blames stress due to the pandemic for his ‘disparaging’ remarks

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Most Read