Nepalese community in Grantham mourns earthquake victims
The tragic events in Nepal have seen Grantham residents lose family, friends and homes, and led the local community to rally round in support.
The devastating earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale struck just before midday local time on Saturday, with its epicentre at Gorkha, a remote rural area between the capital Kathmandu and Pokhara.
This massive quake followed by hundreds of aftershocks, some as big as 6.5 on the Richter scale, has killed at least 6,200 people and left millions homeless, including family members and friends of those now living in Grantham.
Head chef at Grantham’s The Everest Inn, Dev Banda, discovered that his 14-year-old nephew Ram was killed in the earthquake. It has also seen his home village Baseri in the Dhading district reduced to ‘nothing but rubble’. Dev has shared photos with us to show the scale of the damage, and says he fears the number killed will be in the tens of thousands.
Baseri is one of many hard-hit rural areas that rescuers are currently struggling to reach, with the quake virtually flattening the homes in the village of Gumdi, from where fellow chef at the Westgate restaurant Pradeep Simkhada originates. Head waiter, Sunjay Thapa, lost his childhood friend, who had only recently got married. Both husband and wife perished in the earthquake.
The Everest Inn’s Raju Giri added: “Most affected are the rural areas just outside Kathmandu Valley. That is where most of the devastation is, and they can’t get food and supplies there.”
With the food they had buried and no shelter, the villagers are forced to spend nights out in the open under tattered makeshift tents, particularly as the continuing aftershocks means it is too dangerous to get inside and salvage whatever is left undamaged.
To make things worse, it’s constantly raining, and there’s a risk of diseases due to the inability to recover the dead bodies.
The UK’s International Search and Rescue Team is being led by Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue’s chief fire officer Dave Ramscar, who has flown to Nepal accompanied by 67 firefighters. Yet even as international aid pours into the country, overwhelmed hospitals are lacking vital medical supplies, and people remain buried in wreckage.
With the aim of helping the poorest people in the district, The Everest Inn is hosting a charity event on Monday, May 4, from 5.30pm onwards, when 50% of net sales will go to charities in these villages. They are asking all attendees to book in advance to ensure they can accomodate everyone.
At their sister branch 8848 in Stamford, the same charity event will be held on Monday, May 4 and Tuesday, May 5. All money raised will be handed directly to local volunteers called the Amma Samuha, or Community of Mothers, who are best placed to deal with situations at the local grass-root level.
This vital fund-raising is being supported by the town’s Rotary Clubs, who are holding various collections including a street collection in Grantham this Saturday and at ASDA on Monday. Spokesperson Roger Graves said: “We are delighted to support and help The Everest Inn with their fund-raising for those in desperate need, and Rotary will ensure that the funds raised will go directly to those affected.”
Staff at Gurkha Square on the corner of London Road and Wharf Road, have also seen family affected by the earthquake. Business partner Khadra Gaiara, said: “One of my chefs has three houses over there, and they have all gone.
“Everybody has been helping,” he added. “One man came in and said ‘these clothes were made by my wife who died, but you can have them to send to Nepal.’”
Both restaurants have donation boxes inside for visitors. Meanwhile Dean Ward of Rumours Bar and Ged McKnight of Fellows Cafe, both of whom have fought alongside Gurkhas during their military careers, are helping to raise money via a charity raffle. It is to win a metal bench that has been created especially by Grantham business Roll and Scroll, with £1 raffle tickets available at Rumours in the Market Place and Fellows on Westgate, up until the draw on Tuesday, May 19 at the Mayor’s Parlour. All of the money raised will be given to Gurkha Square to send to Nepal. Donations of any old or unwanted clothes or blankets will also be greatly appreciated.
Donations can also be made online through the Rotary justgiving page by clicking here.
Alternatively go to www.dec.org.uk or call the Disaster Emergency Committee’s Nepal Earthquake Appeal on 0370 60 60 900.