UB students pay tribute to the victims of Nepal earthquake
Approximately 150 students gather for candlelight vigil
When Eveeta Bajracharya moved from her native Nepal to Buffalo in August of 2014 to attend UB for graduate school, she never imagined her beloved city would turn into a “ruin.”
Bajracharya, a first-year graduate student studying finance, received a phone call from her father at 2 a.m. on Sunday telling her that a major earthquake had occurred in her hometown of Kathmandu, Nepal.
“I was completely drained of all my fear, anxiety and worry for my people back home,” Bajracharya said. “With events like these, you realize that the things that actually matter are our family and everything else took a back seat.”
The Bangladeshi Student Association (BSA) held a candlelight vigil for the victims of the earthquake outside of the Student Union on Wednesday night. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake occurred on Saturday and caused the deaths of more than 5,400 people and injured 11,440 people as of Thursday, according to Nepal’s National Emergency Coordination Center. The death toll is expected to rise. The earthquake was centered within the district of Gorkha, but the United Nations said the earthquake affected 8 million people across 39 districts.
During the vigil, which was attended by approximately 150 people, students remembered the deceased and sang Sayaun Thunga Phool Ka, the national anthem of Nepal. Students also placed candles around the flag of Nepal.
“The reason I was at the vigil was to meet my people from back home who could understand the emotional distress I have been feeling,” Bajracharya said. “[I wanted] to cry with them, for the lives we have lost and heritages that we have lost due to this unfortunate event.”
Bajracharya said she feels “helpless and emotionally drained” because she cannot do anything other than worry for her friends and family.
Sofiya Karki, a junioraccounting major, president of BSA and a Nepal native, said she wanted to hold the vigil because she felt like people needed to know what was happening in Nepal and she wanted to find out who was interested in helping.
“Even though it started out as a BSA event, it turned out to be a event to unite people to come together,” Karki said.
Karki helped organize the fundraiser “UB for Nepal Earthquake Relief,” in which people can donate money in support of relief efforts. It has currently raised more than $500 in support of the relief efforts and all proceeds will be given to the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF).
Nepal’s Minister for Information and Communications Minendra Rijal, said the government has provided more than 4,700 tents and 22,000 tarpaulins to those in need of shelter, according to CNN. Twenty-one helicopters have been sent to Nepal, rescuing more than 800 people.
Karki said some of her family and friends have not slept in their homes and are camped outside in tents. Some went on a trip to Nepal and are now stuck in the country due to the earthquake.
“I just hope after today’s event, everyone keeps us in their prayers so we can come out of this trauma as quickly as possible,” Bajracharya said. “As a country like Nepal, something devastating like this will push us further back.”
Anita Sharma, a sophomore health and human services major, started getting notifications on Sunday on Facebook informing her that her friends and family in Nepal were safe.
“This was very helpful because it let me know that even though they do not have access to the Internet to personally let me know that they are OK, I was still able to know that they were safe,” Sharma said.
Sharma said she hopes to help create an organization for Nepali students to gather and reflect especially when natural disasters like this earthquake occur.
Ashley Inkumsah is the assistant news editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org