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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Aid from Aggieland: Nepalese students create a fund to help quake victims

Graduate+students+Rajan+Thapa%2C+Parveen+Kumar+Chhetri%2C+Smit+Dhakal+and+Manoj+Rajaure+%28left+to+right%29+pass+out+flyers+to+raise+awareness+about+the+disaster+in+Nepal+outside+of+the+Memorial+Student+Center+Monday+afternoon.
Photo by Shelby Knowles

Graduate students Rajan Thapa, Parveen Kumar Chhetri, Smit Dhakal and Manoj Rajaure (left to right) pass out flyers to raise awareness about the disaster in Nepal outside of the Memorial Student Center Monday afternoon.

As the death count after the Saturday earthquake in Nepal climbs past 4,000, according to the Associated Press, rescue workers from around the world are trying to aid those left in the 7.8-magnitude quake’s wake. In response, a group of Aggies are trying to help in their own way.

Officers of the Texas A&M chapter of the Nepalese Student Association, most of whom were raised in Nepal, have started raising funds to help victims of the quake.

These students created an Indiegogo fund, called “Aggies for Earthquake Victims in Nepal,” and have aimed to raise $10,000, but have not yet decided which aid group to give the anticipated funds to.

One member of the NSA, Manoj Rajaure, biochemistry graduate student, said members of the organization decided to create the fund because they felt it was the best way to help without actually traveling to Nepal. 

“There are already a lot of people helping there and we are trying to help from here,” Rajaure said. “We want to help but there are already so many foreign aids and other people working hand in hand. I think there are enough people for that. But what they need is resources.”

Rajaure said for the past three days people have been on the street in makeshift tents. 

“It’s raining really hard, there is no light, there is no food, there is no shelter, nothing,” Rajaure said. “They’re just terrified right now, and the aftershocks are still going on, and could for another five to six days and they don’t want to go inside because they don’t know what’s going to happen … It’s a pretty terrifying situation right now.” 

As of Monday, the group has raised $4,249 and Rajaure said the group hopes to not only meet their goal, but to surpass it.

“All the foreign and international aids are there, and all kinds of supplies are there and what we are going to generate isn’t going to be substantial also, but whatever we can, right?” Rajaure said. “That’s our motive. We want to raise as much as we can.”

NSA President Parveen Kumar Chhetri, geography graduate student, said the group is considering sending the funds to either the Red Cross or the Nepalese Prime Minister’s disaster relief fund.

“The big thing is collecting right now,” said Rajan Thapa, vice president of the NSA and biochemistry graduate student.

Smit Dhakal, secretary of the NSA and plant breeding graduate student, said he was in disbelief when he originally heard the news about the earthquake.

“I was on a field trip in San Antonio until Friday and I was tired so when I came back I was sleeping,” Dhakal said. “Next morning, I was in bed and a friend called me and said, ‘Did you know what happened, did you hear about the earthquake?’ and I was like, ‘Really is that true, or are you just messing with me?’ I checked Facebook, and it was true and all I saw was, ‘earthquake, earthquake.’” 

The students said their immediate reaction was to contact their families, which was difficult because many had either abandoned their phones to escape or were now without power to charge their phones. 

Of the NSA members and former members who graduated, Rajaure said no one’s immediate families have been reported dead or hurt, which the community is thankful for.

Chhetri said the local Nepali student community will meet within the week and decide exactly where the funds will go. The NSA will have more drives throughout the week for food and clothing, and also hopes to hold a candlelight vigil on campus, Thapa said. 

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