Dr. Richard Keidan said years of work to help people in a remote part of Nepal have been either wiped out or set back by the major earthquake that struck the Himalayan country this weekend.
Authorities said Sunday an earthquake that ripped through Nepal on Saturday has killed at least 2,700 people.
“I just received word Sunday about our projects and was told all of them were either destroyed or damaged,” Keidan said. “We had been working on them for several years. The earthquake was devastating in the villages.”
Keidan is founder of a West Bloomfield nonprofit group called Detroit2Nepal, or D2N, which works to improve public health and educational opportunities for children in eastern Nepal and Metro Detroit.
Keidan received some good news, though, he said. He said friends and colleagues he’s been able to contact in the region are doing well.
“I’ve heard from many of them and they said they’re doing OK,” said Keidan, a surgeon at William Beaumont Hospital and who has been traveling to Nepal since 1983. “But it’s pretty tense, as you can imagine.”
Keidan said he began visiting Nepal to climb mountains and trek.
“It’s a second home for me,” he said. “I have a lot of history with Nepal and a lot of friends there.”
An 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal just before noon Saturday. The quake originated outside Kathmandu, the nation’s capital, and is reported to be the worst to hit the South Asian country in 80 years.
Keidan said his group’s projects are located a couple of hundred miles east of Kathmandu.
He said his foundation planned a May 8 event called Over the Edge to raise money for the group’s efforts. The charity teamed up with Bedrock Real Estate Services and Quicken Loans for the event, which allows people to rappel down the First National Building in downtown Detroit in exchange for a $1,000 donation.
“The major aid organizations will never make it out to these marginalized, mountainous villages,” he said. “And they need help.”
Due to the widespread destruction in Nepal, half of the Over the Edge proceeds now will go toward relief efforts, he said.
Jennifer Roberts, a spokeswoman for the American Red Cross Southeastern Michigan Regional Chapter, said Metro Detroiters who want to help Nepal’s earthquake victims can make donations through the organization’s website or text REDCROSS 90999 to make a $10 donation.
In addition, the American Red Cross is sending disaster specialists to Nepal and has committed $300,000 to the relief effort.
Officials also said the group is working closely with the Nepal Red Cross Society and global Red Cross network to coordinate support.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Nepal earthquake relief
To donate to the Detroit2Nepal Foundation, visit http://detroit2nepal.org.
To donate to the Red Cross, visit https://www.redcross.org or text REDCROSS to 90999.
Source: The Detroit News research