A Horsham man who was near Nepal when an earthquake struck killing thousands and affecting millions has called on the public to make donations towards valuable supplies.
Paul Carruthers, who lives in Denne Park with his wife and children but works in India half of his time, was enjoying a weekend cycling break in the northern part of the country when the natural disaster hit on Saturday April 25.
It makes me feel sick to think of the loss of life and suffering that the Nepalese are going through at the momentPaul Carruthers, Horsham resident
The United Nations has estimated that more than a quarter of Nepal’s population, around eight million, has been affected and while the current death toll stands at 5,000 this could reach 10,000 according to officials.
Paul has been travelling to Nepal with his family for many years and described it as a ‘second home’, with some of his friends living in villages that have been devastated by the earthquake.
He said: “It makes me feel sick to think of the loss of life and suffering that the Nepalese are going through at the moment.
“To see lots of famous temples, monuments and palaces destroyed is also very painful.”
He added: “I have been travelling to Nepal for many years, originally with my wife Christine but more latterly with my whole family.
“For me it has always felt like my second home. The combination of wonderful, friendly, confident people, stunning historical monuments and buildings, and the unique possibilities of Himalayan travel in the high mountains, it’s just unbeatable.”
Just before noon on Saturday Paul’s hotel room started ‘shaking moderately’ with glasses shaking and dust falling from the roof, and he originally thought it was a small local earthquake.
Although well away from the earthquake’s epicentre he described it as like being next to a piledriver and texted his children to say that he had experienced a small earth tremor, later realising what had happened in nearby Nepal.
The earthquake, which measured 7.8 on the Richter scale, has seen whole villages destroyed, around 500,000 people displaced, people still being pulled from the rubble more than 50 hours after the initial disaster, and many survivors without food or water.
Deaths were also reported in neighbouring China and India on Saturday, while 18 people are reported to have died on Mount Everest as the earthquake caused a wall of snow, rock and ice to fall on its base camp.
Paul has helped provide financial assistance to build a new school in a small village in Nepal north of Kathmandu where one of his good friends Santaman lives.
He has heard that Santaman’s father has died and the village in question, Kaaule, has been devastated by the earthquake.
Paul added: “Nepalese people are very cheerful and resilient on the whole, but they will need a lot of help to get back on their feet after such a massive tragedy as this.
“I hope that the various charity organisations get into gear as quickly as possible to assist the Nepalese Government and I’m sure many British people will contribute generously.”
Donations can be made via the major UK charities or through the Disaster Emergency Committee website at www.dec.org.uk