Students raise money for relief efforts in Nepal

Workers+dig+through+the+debris+of+fallen+buildings+on+Tuesday+in+Kathmandu%2C+Nepal.+The+death+toll+from+a+powerful+earthquake+in+Nepal+climbed+to+4%2C555+and+a+total+of+8%2C299+others+were+injured%2C+Nepal+Police+said+in+a+statement+Tuesday.

Workers dig through the debris of fallen buildings on Tuesday in Kathmandu, Nepal. The death toll from a powerful earthquake in Nepal climbed to 4,555 and a total of 8,299 others were injured, Nepal Police said in a statement Tuesday.

University students with ties to Nepal are urging others to reach out and help with relief efforts after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the country on Saturday.

As of press time, the Nepal Police reported a total of 5,530 deaths and 8,305 injured.

The Nepali Student Association at the University, NeStA, has several fundraising events in the works to aid Nepal in their rescue and reconstruction efforts.

After the students’ first day of fundraising, the association announced it raised $1,950 to aid earthquake relief efforts.

Miglena Manandhar is a member of NeStA and a Ph.D. candidate at the University whose family and friends were directly affected by the disaster. She said her family members in Nepal are physically sound but “in a state of trauma” because of the earthquake, and they’ve been “spending their lives outside” since the earthquake struck their home.

“It’s not just my family, but everyone in the capital is doing the same,” Manandhar said. “Also, in the villages rescuers have still not been able to reach.”

Manandhar said NeStA will be holding a walk-in donation booth on the Main Quad from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m until Friday to fund relief in Nepal. She also said a benefit concert will be held at the First Mennonite Church in Urbana.

According to Manandhar, the concert is in collaboration with the University’s civil engineering and music departments.

“We’re hoping to collect at least five to $10,000 and send the donations to a charity organization in Nepal that’s working at the ground level in coordination with the Nepal Red Cross so that we can provide help to the victims that are in immediate need of this relief,” Manandhar said.

Santosh Koirala, former NeStA president and graduate research student, said there is immense devastation in his home country and he expects the limited resources to cause the death toll to continue climbing.

He said most donations will go to Nepal.net, which is providing relief on the ground in forms of food, shelter and volunteer groups to go to the “worst parts of the country.”

Atul Nepal, another former president of NeStA and Ph.D. student, said he fears the country’s third-world status makes relief efforts especially vital.

Atul said the lack of roads are leaving those affected in the outskirts stranded until helicopters can offer aid, and it may be too late by the time relief arrives.

The impending monsoon season could cause problems for relief and rebuilding in the heavy, frequent rain, he added.

Koirala said he appreciates the support extended by University students because the country would experience difficulty rescuing and rebuilding without international aid.

“People need to understand that Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world,” Koirala said. “We hope that this fundraising event has helped raise awareness of this disaster and also we hope that people know that this is not only important for the immediate relief but also for the long term reconstruction process.”

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