The country of Nepal faced the worst earthquake it had seen in 80 years Saturday. Seven thousand and nine miles away from the devastation, in front of the Lowman Student Center on the campus of Sam Houston State University, management information systems senior Rajendra Bade is raising money to aid his destructed homeland, where his family still resides.
“Four thousand five hundred people are being recognized as dead already so we’re trying to help the people who are alive, trying to buy them some food,” Bade said.
According to the National Emergency Operation Centre, more than 6,500 people have been injured. That number continues to grow as rescue teams reach the mountainous areas of Nepal.
“We’ll be collecting some donations and sending the funds to the Red Cross Society in Houston so that we can buy granola bars, pudding bars or blankets and send it to the country Nepal,” Bade said.
Bade’s family is not included in the aforementioned dead or injured count. However, Bade was on the phone with his wife when the earthquake struck, leaving him without answers for several hours.
“I was really shocked,” Bade said. “I was talking to my wife on the phone and all of a sudden she started shouting and I was like ‘what’s going on?’ [and] she was not able to respond. She just hung up the phone or it got cut off and after a little while I checked on my Facebook and I knew that there was a big earthquake.”
Even after he knew what had happened, the security of his family remained a mystery.
“I was trying to get a hold [of] them, but the phone kept saying ‘natural disaster’ or something like that,” Bade said. “I was so terrified trying to reach my family. I was not able to get a hold of [anybody]. After like an hour, I was able to talk to my dad and he was able to tell me ‘it’s alright, we’re safe here. Don’t be worried.’”
Bade says that even though his family is safe, he knows that many others are not.
“I felt okay but still it’s not just my family,” Bade said. “There’s a lot of people who don’t have their homes. What does it feel like when you don’t have your home? You see your home falling apart in front of you and you’re devastated. You’re destroyed.”
The Associated Press reported that over 70 percent of the homes in the country were destructed.
Bade recognizes that even though the initial earthquake is over, the after effects will feel everlasting.
“Right now there are some aftershocks every couple hours,” he said. “It’s still a situation of panic back home, so we’re trying to raise funds and do whatever we can [to] try to help them. We have pictures, and we’ve been talking to our families. They’re good so far but the old buildings, the historical monuments—they are all collapsed. It’s really terrible out there.”
Bade and four of his peers said that the SHSU community has been more than helpful, along with the rest of the world.
“[The United States is] doing their best so far,” Bade said. “I’ve heard there are 30 or 40 rescue teams from Virginia. They’re getting a lot of help from [the] UK, Australia, Canada, Israel, India, Pakistan and everywhere around the world. AT&T, T-Mobile, Viber and Skype made a free phone call service so we’ve been able to talk to [our families] for free. I’m very thankful to them for that.”
Bade, along with other Bearkats, will be collecting donations either in the mall area or outside of the Newton Gresham Library for the rest of the week.