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Wichita Doctor Returns Home To Nepal To Aid Quake Victims

A Wichita doctor from Wesley Medical Center is heading home to Nepal. The pediatric intensivist is going on a 4-week medical mission to help victims who’ve endured two major earthquakes. More than 9,000 people have died and more than 20,000 were seriously injured in the 7.8-magnitude quake on April 25 and the major aftershocks in the weeks after. KMUW’s Carla Eckels talks with Dr. Manish Bajracharya about his upcoming trip.


Credit Courtesy Manish Bajracharya
A street in Bajracharya's hometown of Kathmandu

"It is tough. We had two earthquakes. It’s been more than a month now, and we are having aftershocks every day. On top of that we are heading towards the monsoon season. There have been landslides. You know, they’re in constant fear.

(After the earthquake) I immediately tried to get in touch. The phone was dead. ...Luckily I could get a hold of my brother-in-law through the Viber. Somehow the Internet was working and thank goodness all my family members were fine. They were taking shelter in the open space in the school nearby at home. By then they had one big earthquake of 7.8 magnitude and aftershocks one after another. This is the biggest earthquake probably most of us have had in our lifetime.

Nepal is a beautiful, peaceful country. I’m from a middle-class, relatively well-to-do family, so I was fortunate. I had good education. ...Not everybody is as lucky. Nepal is one of the poorest countries. Our per-day income on average is two dollars and they make living out of that."


Doctors perform surgery in a UNICEF medical tent in Kathmandu
Credit Courtesy Manish Bajracharya
A view of medical tents in Kathmandu

"When I heard this earthquake, I wanted to rush and at least to be with my family members, my parents, my sister and cousins. On top of that, being in medical profession, I wanted to go out there and help. ...I could have been (a) helping hand from get-go. Because of various reasons I could not go from the beginning, but I have, it was in my constant mind to go.

I am excited not just be with my family; I’m very hopeful that I’ll be extra hands to my friends and colleagues who are already in the ground working with sicker patients or dealing with this disaster.

I talked with my folks and they are hanging in there. I applaud the medical team that are doing work there. Some of my friends, they have worked 3 or 4 days even without going back home despite having aftershocks day to day. They’re worried about their family."



Credit Courtesy Facebook
Chris Norgren

"It was devastating to hear the news about the helicopter crash which was on a mission to relieve the victims. Six U.S. Marines and two Nepalese troopers were in that crash, and unfortunately one gentleman, Captain Norgren, was from Wichita. ...It is devastating not just in Nepal that to hear that kind of disaster on top (of) what is going on. Nevertheless it is appreciable that people not just within Nepal but world people are taking that kind of risk to help this humanitarian crisis."

Credit Courtesy Manish Bajracharya
Medical supplies in Kathmandu

"Right now we have gotten so much of help. I was at Wichita State University for candlelight ceremony just to remember about this devastation, and I saw not just Nepalese but also many non-Nepalese folks--hundreds of them there with the good thoughts. 

Right now I think the biggest help would be any money, monetary help that you could give. ...Any help at this time will be appreciable and will be of benefit for Nepal."


This piece originally aired on June 11, 2015, on Morning Edition.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org

Follow Carla Eckels on Twitter @Eckels