In Halifax, Nepalese Canadians are raising money and awareness for the relief effort in their homeland.
“Right now, what we can do is be worried, and do nothing, but I would personally want to go back home and be with them. I can’t do that,” said Sahisna Chitiakar.
So they’re doing what they can, telling their stories and raising money in Victoria Park.
“People have been really generous,” said Karma Gureng. “So it’s really nice of people to raise money and send it to the Red Cross so they can help.”
Deborah Langille is from Halifax, and her husband worked in a Nepal children’s hospital for a year.
“We’ve been talking about this on the news and thinking how awful this is,” she said. “They have to struggle so much to begin with, and then to have this added natural tragedy is just really sad.”
Some people who wandered up to the display in Victoria Park hadn’t heard about the disaster yet.
The Red Cross has already set up a donations site. The area is still experiencing aftershocks.
Rabi Chitrakar’s family is in Nepal. His mother recently had knee surgery.
“They just had a 6.6 (magnitude aftershock) this morning, and where my mom is sitting now, that home is also damaged,” Chitrakar said.
Former Nova Scotia businessman Fenwick MacIntosh is serving a seven-year sentence in Nakku jail for sexually assaulting a young boy in that country. The jail is in the area that has been hardest hit, and it’s an old building.
“At least 100 years old, with no reinforcement, no new structure,” Chitrakar said. “It’s an old, very old building so there must have been some severe damage.”
There is no confirmation yet on what may have happened to MacIntosh or the jail.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ron Shaw
In Fredericton, Bina and Basu Sharma are relieved to hear their families in Nepal are safe. The Sharmas are New Brunswick’s first Nepalese immigrants and have been looking at photos of their former home in disbelief.
“We still don’t know the death, the destruction, how much and how many people,” Bina said. “We fear there will be more than what has been, about 2,300 now.”
The Sharmas have been living in Fredericton for almost 30 years, but both of their families are in Nepal. They have been anxiously watching news reports about the earthquake. They say getting in touch with family members has been difficult. The earthquake has damaged phone lines and Internet connections.
“We haven’t still been able to talk in person,” Bina said. “Facebook has bene very helpful.”
The Sharmas say they feel helpless being so far from where they grew up.
“You see people being dragged and also we read, we hear more people are buried underneath (the rubble) but because of the lack of resources, they are there but some of them died because they cannot be brought out,” Basu said.
The couple says they are comforted by the knowledge that other countries, including Canada, are stepping in to help.
With files from CTV Altantic’s Ashley Blackford