Local Red Cross worker leads group in Bhaktapur response after losing his own home

Topics: Asia, Emergencies and Disasters Worldwide
by Minna Passi, Finnish Red Cross | April 30, 2015

Families are huddled under shelters while the rain pours down. Many of the houses in the area of Bhaktapur in Kathmandu have been completely destroyed; some are still standing but it looks like they might collapse any time.

A group of staff and volunteers from the Nepal Red Cross Society is standing in the rain. They have been assigned to help the army in the search and rescue efforts but the rain is making it too dangerous and the mission has been cancelled.

“Another group found bodies earlier today. Yesterday we found four children alive,” says Krishna Ram Thapa, the group leader and a project worker for the local Red Cross.

Krishna has himself been affected by the earthquake, like many of the local aid workers and volunteers. He was working in a field with his wife and mother when the ground started to shake. He was terrified because his father and son were inside watching television. They were saved because they took shelter in a doorway. “The house looks like a pancake,” Krishna says.

“At first I built a shelter for my family and four other families from local materials which we were able to find ourselves. After that I’ve been helping others with the Red Cross.”

Like many others affected by the quake, Krishna is worried that the next step of the disaster will be that diseases could appear due to lack of sanitation and safe drinking water.

Bhaktapur district Red Cross chapter, and others, are doing their best to start delivering pure water as soon as possible. And while the search and rescue operations are ongoing, many are turning their thoughts to longer term solutions for shelter and support.

The Canadian government also announced that it will be matching eligible donations from April 25 to May 25.

Canadians are encouraged to support people impacted by this disaster by making a donation to the Canadian Red Cross Nepal Region Earthquake Fund.
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