Stop by Kryzsko Commons and show your support for those affected by the Nepal earthquake, like Sourab and his sister, Supriya.

Stop by Kryzsko Commons and show your support for those affected by the Nepal earthquake, like Sourab and his sister, Supriya.

On April 25, one of the most powerful earthquakes took place in Nepal. This 7.8 magnitude earthquake impacted the whole country of Nepal and it’s neighboring countries too. It claimed the lives of over 5,000 people. While this earthquake happened close to eight thousand miles away from us, it has had an impact on people all over the world, including a few students from our very own Winona State University.

My friend Sourab Bhatta, a junior, is one of those students. He is from Kathmandu, Nepal and came to WSU three years ago to pursue a business degree. After the news headlines about the tragic earthquake, I talked to him about how he personally is handling the crisis back at home. Though the news was shocking and upsetting, Sourab is working through his difficult emotions by taking steps to support his friends and family back in Nepal them even though he is far away.

What was your first reaction when you heard about the earthquake?

I was shocked at first, because I never expected the news. It totally came as a surprise. It was 6am when a friend texted me about the news.

How has the earthquake affected you even though you are Winona, MN?

It affected me because some of my relatives’ houses collapsed in the earthquake. Also, people I’d known for a while had died in this event. It’s really personal; it’s really close to my heart.

Have you been able to contact your family? How are your friends doing?

I have been able to call my family and they’ve been calling me too. The first few days were tough because they didn’t have telephone lines or electricity. But the next few days, it got better. My friends are doing okay. Most of them have been living outside in tents–even in the rain. It’s wet, and they’re all outside.

Is that the reason for the tent and the fasting?

Yes, I wanted to be able to experience what they are going through also. And along with living in tents, a lot of people don’t have food back home. There’s a scarcity and a lot of people are hungry. Fasting is my way of showing that I support them and let them know that I am praying for them.

What would you suggest for those who want to be actively involved in helping out with this?

A few ways people can be involved is by reaching out to the people in Nepal through working with an organization, donating, or even just praying about it or sending notes of support to families in Nepal.

His story also made me think about how this earthquake impacted myself. I was impacted because I knew someone who was directly affected, Sourab, but I also realized I was impacted because it affected India, the country where I was born, which received aftershocks that killed several dozen people. While it is harder for me to identify with my country of birth since I did not live there very long, it still hurt when I realized over 50 people from India died. Listening to Sourab talk about how this earthquake affected everyone in Nepal and himself personally was very moving, and made me want to support Nepal more than ever before.

Sourab and a few others will be hosting a vigil at the Winona State University gazebo on today from 6-7pm. This will be a way to remember those whose lives were claimed by the tragic event, and I encourage you all to attend. If you’d like to make a donation to relief efforts,  WSU alumnus Amit Khanal has set up the Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund to assist relief efforts in Nepal.

–Sharna Miller