On April 25, a shattering earthquake hit Nepal, with the epicenter located near Kathmandu Valley. The magnitude was recorded as being 7.8 in the United States, although other countries reported it to be 7.9. It was one of the most destructive earthquakes in Nepal’s history.
As of Saturday, “the death toll is 7,250 and the number of people injured by the earthquake is 14,122,” CNN quoted from the National Emergency Operation Center.
Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat told CNN that the earthquake destroyed nearly 300,000 homes.
This is not the first time a huge earthquake has hit Nepal and created mass devastation. Even though this is the biggest earthquake to hit the region in over 80 years, there have been others, including one of magnitude 8.0 in 1934.
The United Nations estimated that more than 3 million are in need of food assistance, and that emergency funding of $415 million is needed as well.
Countries are helping to fix Nepal and facilitate Nepalese citizens, including the United States, which has announced through the U.S. Agency for International Development that $9 million is available for recovery effort.
At the University of Maryland, there have been local efforts to raise awareness about the earthquake. There was a candlelight vigil on Tuesday at McKeldin Mall that over 400 people attended. This led to the creation of UMD 4 Nepal, a group of students who have come together to try and help raise money for Nepal.
Deepaka Basnet, a 4th year Physics major, is part of the group created.
“We did a candlelight vigil on Tuesday. No one knew each other before that. Everyone came together and we decided that we need to do something,” he stated.
Aayush Thapa, a sophomore majoring in Materials Science and Engineering, is also part of the group. He personally couldn’t get in contact with one of his friends from Nepal for three days after the earthquake.
“The government can’t help everyone due to lack of funds so we are trying to help as much as we can. We are giving to a grassroots organization that is helping a hard hit district that is only 21 miles from the epicenter,” he said about the group.
Just on Friday alone, the group has managed to raise over $1,000 by standing outside of Stamp and both the North and South campus diners, as well as through an online fund.
Collectively, the 30 students in the group have raised over $2,500 so far. Their target is five to six thousand in a week.
Mimoh Restaha, another student in the group, has family in Nepal.
“Being personally from Nepal, all you want to do is cry. People in remote villages need us, they need relief funds. We are trying to raise every penny we can for Nepal.”