Earthquake, Aftershocks Renew Relief Efforts in Nepal

Edison International’s Relief Fund for the earthquake tops $42,000 in employee contributions and company donations.

May 18, 2015 | By Mary Ann Milbourn

Bibhush Ranjit’s family in Kathmandu had just begun to settle down after the devastating magnitude-7.8 earthquake struck Nepal April 25, when several big aftershocks May 12 sent everyone running into the streets again.

Ranjit, a business analyst with Southern California Edison’s (SCE) Distribution Grid Solutions in Irwindale, was able to briefly talk by cellphone to his parents and cousins to make sure they were OK, but there was little he could do to ease their fears.

“Everyone is just terrified,” he said. “They thought things were getting back to normal.”

Sanjay Guragain, an SCE IT Technology strategist in Irwindale, also was relieved when his father-in-law called from Kathmandu to report his family in Nepal was unhurt after the aftershocks.

But Guragain worries about their well-being. He said his family lived outdoors for four days after the initial earthquake, afraid their home might collapse. The aftershocks sent everyone outside again.

“And the weather is not good,” he said.  “This is the rainy season but they have no choice.”

The earthquake and aftershocks ravaged much of the Himalayan nation, killing more than 8,600 people, injuring nearly 17,000 and destroying or damaging more than 756,000 homes, according to the Nepalese government.

The U.N. has called on the international community to raise $423 million to supply food, water, shelter and medical aid in Nepal over the next three months.

Unable to be with their families, Ranjit and Guragain joined many of the more than 2,000 Nepali people living in Southern California in informal fundraising efforts.

Ranjit and several friends collected about $3,500 to contribute to grassroots groups in Nepal to provide general relief, transportation and to pay for building materials for reconstruction in the villages.

Guragain used his IT expertise to immediately create a Web page with links to a variety of humanitarian aid groups providing relief efforts in Nepal.

Edison International, parent company of SCE, launched its own Nepal earthquake relief fund after the original earthquake hit last month.

To date, Edison employees have donated nearly $28,000 to Edison International’s Relief Fund, in an ongoing campaign that will continue through May 29. The company added a $10,000 corporate match to the employee donations.

Contributions to the relief fund will be donated to Doctors Without Borders and the American National Red Cross, nonprofits that have established operations on the ground in Nepal. Edison International is a founding partner of PrepareSoCal, a partnership with the Red Cross to help educate the public on emergency preparedness.

Edison International also launched #fivefor5 social media earthquake awareness campaign.

Under that effort, the company will donate $5 up to a total of $5,000 for those who pledge to take five actions to prepare for an earthquake. To date, 838 people have made pledges raising an additional $4,190 in relief funds from Edison International. Pledges can be made on SCE’s social media pages: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

The #fivefor5 actions include:

  • Make a disaster plan and assemble an emergency supply kit.
  • Practice “drop, cover and hold on.”
  • Identify an out-of-state contact.
  • Secure heavy objects with bolts and straps.
  • Expect and prepare for fires, aftershocks, landslides and tsunamis.                                           

Topics: People