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Nepalis in Maharashtra worried about kin back home

Mumbai : Around 300,000 Nepali people, who work and live in Maharashtra, are worried about their relatives in quake-hit Nepal and are chipping in to help them tide over the unprecedented crises.

“It’s a huge tragedy, and the scale of devastation is something unseen before in our country. We are trying to collect funds, organise volunteers and send as much relief material as possible,” said Shaligram Tiwari, president of the United Nepal Organisations (UNO) here.

At least three families from Mumbai, who suffered personal tragedies, have left for home, he said, adding that his own home in Syangja, around 200 km from Kathmandu, was badly damaged.

“Unfortunately, there are no reports coming from the area of the quake epicentre Lamjung district. It is a remote mountainous region and has been totally devastated. All focus seems to be on Kathmandu region only. We are not aware of the disaster magnitude in Lamjung, casualties or any other details,” Tiwari told IANS.

There are an estimated 300,000-plus Nepalese living in Maharashtra, including around 200,000 in Mumbai alone, he said.

A majority are employed in the hotel industry as cooks, chefs or waiters, while many more are in the security industry and a few are well-settled in big and small businesses.

Terming the situation in Nepal as “very grim”, he said there was severe power shortage, erratic food and water supply, limited transportation, families were living in the open braving the cold weather, now compounded by rains, and the main tourism industry has been dealt a deathly blow.

He said that as an immediate step, the United Nepal Organisations has set up a trust and asked their own people in India as well as Indians to donate towards earthquake relief.

A team of volunteers is being readied to go to Nepal to help after getting the green signal from the Nepal embassy in New Delhi, Tiwari added.

However, he said the social media has greatly helped the migrant population in Maharashtra remain in touch with their near and dear ones and also learn of the disaster in different parts of the Himalayan state.