As he watched the recent carnage unfold in Nepal — earth movers climbing mountains of wreckage, rescuers sifting through rubble for survivors — Brenau University professor Humnath Panta feared for the lives of his family.
Like many others, the Nepal native saw the recent news coverage of damage inflicted on his former home country after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake claimed the lives of at least 4,600 people and left thousands more injured.
Born in Eastern Nepal, Panta moved to the Northeast Georgia area 11 years ago. Much of his family, however, still resides in Kathmandu.
When he learned on Saturday the disaster had struck — the country’s second deadliest earthquake in recorded history — he tried desperately to reach his youngest sister as well as a host of other friends and relatives.
Nobody answered their phones.
Panta spent more than two days waiting to hear from them. It was 48 hours of “unbearable pain,” he said. “It was very scary.”
When he was finally able to get in touch, Panta breathed a huge sigh of relief. He was grateful his family and friends were safe, but he mourns the country’s loss of so many lives.
“It is so painful to look at on television,” he said. “Lots of people are still underneath all the rubble. People are homeless. They are living in tents … It looks like a refugee camp.”
Panta encouraged all those who read this article to consider donating to relief efforts for those affected by the disaster.
“Whatever we can do for them will mean a lot. Right now, that should be everybody’s focus as they watch this tragedy on television,” he said.
“These people, they need food. They need water. These are basic needs, and anybody who wants to make a difference as they read about this and watch the news, they can help.””
The Nepalese Association of Georgia has set up the following site locally for those wishing to donate: http://www.gofundme.com/nag-reliefnepal
Or, those wishing to contribute can visit The American Red Cross at http://www.redcross.org/
Panta is a professor of finance at Brenau University. He lives in Forsyth County.