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Nepali Society at Purdue to hold vigil for victims of Nepal earthquake

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Bikash Shakya and Ravi Shrestha are from regions of Nepal recovering from Saturday’s earthquake.

Bikash is from the capital Kathmandu. Ravi is from a district about 15 miles from the capital where a strong aftershock hit on Sunday.

“[My family] was able to get through at first to my uncle, but after the second quake on the second day they have not been able to get in touch with him,” Ravi said.

Ravi hopes the lack of electricity is causing the communication delay with his uncle. The rest of Ravi’s family as well as Bikash’s in Nepal are physically well, but have damage to their homes.

More than 5,000 people are dead. Some villages haven’t even been reached by rescuers.

“Right now, even the roads are getting damaged because of the earthquake,” Ravi said. “The only way to provide him with rescue and relief is through the air.”

However, earthquakes aren’t uncommon in the region. Both Bikash and Ravi have experienced at least one living in Nepal, but nothing like Saturday’s 7.9 magnitude.

“I remember the tremors, I remember the expression of the people,” Bikash said about an earthquake in 1989.

“There’s been a lot of scientists talking about how this is an area of hazard just because we see these repeating thrust earthquakes along the Himalayan front over thousands of years,” Purdue Associate Professor of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences Lucy Flesch said.

Flesch studies earthquakes around the Tibetan Plateau, where this weekend’s quake occurred.

“It’s a really complex area where you have the Indian plate that is moving about 50 millimeters a year north into the Eurasia plate,” Flesch said. “So, that gets shoved underneath and locks and holds a lot of stress.”

Ravi and Bikash want support their homeland as much as they can.

The Nepali Society at Purdue will host a vigil and raise money Wednesday at 8:15 p.m. outside Hovde Hall.