Support sought for Nepal

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An Oamaru restaurant owner is looking to drum up some funds to send back to his home country of Nepal, which is struggling to cope in the wake of a devastating earthquake.

Ghana Shyam Sapkota plans to set up a donation box to help his fellow Nepalese and family members who were hit by the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal at the weekend.

In the coming days, Mr Shyam Sapkota will place a donation box at his Indian Kitchen restaurant in North Oamaru.

“I want to raise about $1000, and I know people don’t have a lot of money; I will be incredibly appreciative of any donations made _ big or small, it all counts and we are very appreciative of any support.”

The earthquake was centred between the capital city Kathmandu and the western city of Pokhara, while the tremor was felt on Mt Everest as well as in Bangladesh, India and Tibet.

Mr Shyam Sapkota said it was terrifying to see what had happened to Nepal.

“I can’t believe what has happened. Thousands have died and many more have been injured, it’s really sad to see.”

The Non Resident Nepalese Association have set up an account for donations and so far $10,650 has been collected, including a $500 donation from Mr Shyam Sapkota.

“I want to do what I can to help, and hopefully the community will do so too,” he said.

Mr Shyam Sapkota said he knew it was not as good as being there, but he hoped he could raise some money to send back to Nepal to help.

None of his family in Kathmandu were killed in the earthquake, but some suffered injuries, such as broken legs. They have had to leave their homes.

“They’re currently homeless as their houses have big cracks in them and they aren’t allowed to be lived in.”

He said people were sleeping in parks, and anywhere they could find.

Earthquakes are something New Zealanders are familiar with, after Christchurch was struck in 2011, and he hoped that would encourage people to support Nepal.

He said he had still to decide whether the funds would go to Red Cross or Unicef.

“We will decide closer to the time.”

There are only a small number of Nepalese residents in Oamaru but, combined with the Waimate, South Canterbury and Mid Canterbury communities, they would look to hold a meeting in the coming days to see what else they could do, he said.

Meanwhile a 37-strong urban search and rescue team will leave New Zealand tonight for Nepal to join the search for survivors.

The search and rescue team will be part of a United Nations-co-ordinated rescue effort in the wake of destructive earthquakes at the weekend and arriving at midday April 28 local time.

–¬†Additional reporting NZH

By Brayden Lindsay

PHOTO: BRAYDEN LINDSAY – Oamaru restaurant owner Ghana Shyam Sapkota will set up a donation box at his restaurant to raise funds for families in Nepal.