Rajen Shakya

Victoria family devastated by Nepal earthquake

Rajen Shakya, the co-owner of Mint restaurant, and his wife and Nina Kansakar spent the weekend trying to contact family in Nepal

Family first.

It’s a motto Rajen Shakya, the co-owner of Mint restaurant, and his wife and Nina Kansakar know all too well.

The Victoria couple spent the weekend getting in touch with their family in Nepal after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the Himalayan nation between the capital Kathmandu and the city of Pokhara on Saturday.

The quake caused buildings to collapse, destroying several historical sites and triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest that buried part of the base camp, killing 16 and injuring 61.

More than 3,000 people have died and the death toll is expected to climb in the coming days.

Shakya and Kansakar initially heard about the earthquake from a cousin in Australia.

“I was shocked. We were just going to bed and we started trying to connect, but all the phone lines were down. It took us three hours to connect with everyone,” said Kansakar, whose family was in Kathmandu, one of the hardest hit areas.

She found out Sunday night that the body of her great aunt was found under the rubble and her cousin was still missing.

Shakya was able to find most of his family at a cousin’s wedding also in the Kathmandu Valley during the quake.

“It was quite a relief. All my mom’s side of the family was there,” he said. “Those two hours of waiting were the hardest. My mom said she never felt anything like that before.”

Shakya said the home he grew up in is gone.

“It’s in ruins,” he said. “For me, when I see all those monuments that have fallen down — those are the places I used to play as a kid, we’d climb up and down the stairs, watch the sunsets and watch the world go by and it’s all gone now.”

Just the magnitude of the destruction and the casualties — it makes me cry everyday.”

They were in Nepal only two months ago with their two children and took photos of the monuments that are no longer standing.

“I feel like I’ve lost the place that I grew up. All the historic things, I was so proud of Nepal architecture,” added Kansakar. “When I see the pictures of it crumbling down, it’s devastating. What am I going to show my kids now?”

In the aftermath, Shakya said the best way to help is to donate to organizations such as the Red Cross.

According to Phyllis Argue, manager of government relations for B.C., Yukon for the Canadian Red Cross, a field assessment coordination team has been deployed to Nepal to assess the situation and find out what additional support is needed.

She said the best way to support their effort is to make a financial contribution.

“One of the values of giving to the Red Cross is our presence in countries that have national Red Cross Societies. They are working in the moment and can mobilize immediately,” said Argue.

Red Cross also offers a family link program where people in the affected area can update family members on their condition. People searching for family can also post online who they are searching for at www.familylinks.icrc.org or call the Burnaby office at 604-709-6667.

Families searching for Canadians who may be living or travelling in the affected region can contact Foreign Affairs Canada at 1-800-387-3124.

 

Just Posted

Woman charged in Saanichton stabbing

One man treated for injuries, released from hospital following Friday assault

Saanich’s Red Lion Inn receives council’s blessing for extended liquor hours

Extension comes more than two years after a major fire

Province continues to investigate Saanich’s Horticultural Centre of the Pacific

Investigation stems from May 2 incident that turned Colquitz River ‘chocolate brown’

Avid Victoria cyclist’s legacy bike ride helps fund end-of-life care

2019 Denis Muloin Ride for Palliative Care invites cyclists for May 26 fundraiser

Growing wildfire prompts evacuation of High Level, Alta.

Chuckegg Creek fire has been burning for several day, but grew substantially Sunday

Top women’s hockey player Natalie Spooner coming to B.C.

Natalie Spooner special guest at annual Grindstone charity weekend in Kelowna

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Most Read