Nepal Earthquake

Nepal underwent two devastating earthquakes in three weeks since April 25, 2015. A series of aftershocks have wreaked havoc among men, women, and children. As our hearts go out to the people suffering at this time, we are praying for the people in Nepal and trying our best to help as much as possible in various ways. The most humbling and comforting is the fact that many of our friends from around the globe are reaching out and asking, “How can we help?” We are trying to find most creative and least intrusive ways that we can ask these wonderfully generous people to do to support the humanitarian crisis in the Himalayan country.

My Speech at the Vigil Addressing University of Florida Community 

Dear Members of the Gator Nation,

Last Saturday, on April 25th, 2015, a massive earthquake rattled our homeland Nepal. This devastating blow followed by nearly 100 aftershocks wrecked havoc on Nepal and resulted in over 7,000 deaths, rendering more than 15,000 injured and damaged above 150,000 homes leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless.

Uttam Giving Speech

(Photo credit: Photojournalist Andres Leiva, the Independent Florida Alligator)

Nepal is historically and culturally popular Himalayan nation. Now everybody knows the geographic and political situation of the country so I will share with you an interesting geological fact. Geologically speaking, the tiny country stands on a tectonic plates that is between two gigantic tectonic plates that constantly squeeze it .

This is not a normal earthquake. The epicenter village called Barpark had about 1200 household and only less than 50 remain standing. Traditional Nepali homes do not usually fall. Mountains were dancing. I have heard from one source (yet to be verified), Kathmandu has been dislocated on the earth – about 10 feet to the south and 10 feet up vertically.

Hardest hit are the most vulnerable ones: the poor and vulnerable – it seemed like extreme injustice intensified by nature. We don’t know. Schools have been damaged. Too many children have lost their parents.

What does it mean for us? We are learning about survival and revival. We are learning about the extremely resilient people, who are able to come together and do amazing thing in the world. A recent new story highlight a single survivor from his 18-member family. And the one person who is alive is helping others actively. He goes on to rescue a 101 year old man buried in the rubble for the last 8 days.

Many of our wonderful friends here in Gainesville (and many from around the globe) asked us: how can we help? These members of the Gator Nation broaden the meaning and function of education as members of a global community of interconnected humans. At a time when another part of the world can use some support from people on the other side the globe. And I do want to take out one moment to talk about this very amazing university. The president is here, the administrators are here, the faculty and staff are here today, coming together to stand with the Nepali people. Not only because they see a few Nepali students in the university, but because they really care about the world. UF is a public institution, which is globally engaged in the true sense. This is incredible and I have no words to describe the profundity of gratitude I feel today.

As Native Nepalese and now proud citizens of the Gators Nation, we ask you, fellow Gators, for three things today. Three things: Donate, Communicate, and Pray.

  1. Donate: Please donate what you can, when you can. Every dime and dollar make a difference. Give your gift to the people collecting money. Our treasurer Dev himself is holding a box. Alternatively, donate via charity organizations. We personally donated via Help Nepal Network USA. But there are others such as the American Red Cross, Oxfam, There’s more information on the Facebook page #GatorsHelpNepal

How is money being used? Very smart people on ground are helping. Rosha Pokharel, the former vice president of Nepalese Student Association, is actually at the ground zero of the impact, where she is working with a team of doctors and nurses to provide the most essential relief to the wounded, vulnerable, and bereaved.

  1. Communicate: Tell your friends you donated. Use the hashtag #GotorsHelpNepal or #GatorsWithNepal and @GatorsHelpNepal
  1. Finally, please keep Nepal in your prayers.  

We thank you on behalf of our families and friends here, and in Nepal.

( This speech was addressed to the UF community on May 4, 2015 at University of Florida’s Turlington Plaza)

Was covered by Independent Florida Alligator

If you are willing to donate, here are some recommended organizations you can donate to:

Action Works Nepal

United Florida Nepal Association – Florida Association of Nepalese Societies

Himalyan Healthcare

Help Nepal Network

Stories of Nepal

American Red Cross

ANMF: American Nepal Medical Foundation

Brother’s Brother Foundation

Oxfam America

World Vision

Dorm Nepal

Want to know more?

UF News

Engineers Without Borders

Local News TV20

Gainesville Sun May 12

Gainesville Sun April 29

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