KATHMANDU, Nepal - The death toll in the devastating earthquake in Nepal has now reached 4,000. Here in New Jersey, many spent the weekend frantically trying to reach out to loved ones who may have been affected.
New Jersey doctor Tulsi Maharjan says he knows most of his home town of Patan has been destroyed.
“The Kathmandu, Birgunj and Patan, those are three main areas. They are almost leveled,” says Dr. Maharjan. “It’s saddening, those memories are all going to be gone.”
He says it took nearly five hours to reach his mother by phone. She was alive.
Another New Jersey family was not so lucky. Marissa Eve Girawong, of Edison, was working as a doctor at the Mount Everest Base camp. She was among 18 killed in an avalanche.
Girawong studied at Rutgers University from 2004-2009. She recently posted to her social media accounts that she would be spending several weeks at the Mount Everest camp, as this is now the climbing season.
She previously worked as a physician assistant at East Orange General Hospital. The hospital released a statement offering condolences.
Dr. Maharjan, who is a member of a group called “Friends of Nepal,” says he and his friends are collecting donations and supplies to help in the relief effort. He has people on the ground whose focus will be on getting food and water to those in need.
The American Red Cross and UNICEF are also collecting donations. The United States government is sending $10 million in aid to Nepal, along with a disaster team and search-and-rescue team.