ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Many in the Capital Region are worried about loved ones living halfway around the world after a massive earthquake hit the country of Nepal.
Around midnight Nepal time, Rupak Gautam, a College of St. Rose graduate student, called his sister in Kathmandu to check on how his family is doing.
“They said they’re sleeping inside the car right now,” he said.
It’s the only thing he can do right now while his family is living half a world away in a disaster zone.
“When your whole family is there, and you’re the one here, you start to panic,” he said. “Don’t know what’s going on there.”
After Saturday’s massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake that killed more than 4,000 and leveled buildings, Gautam found out on Facebook that his sister was alive and unharmed.
“My sister was describing it,” he said. “Everyone was screaming. The scene was chaotic.”
Gautam spent Monday afternoon checking in with his family on Facebook by sending them messages and keeping himself updated through pictures. Many pictures emerged showing families living in tents because they are not able to get back into any buildings that may still be standing.
“It’s been raining there,” he said. “No electricity. They’ve been charging through generators.”
The College of St. Rose has four students who are from Nepal. Colleen Thapalia is at the Center for International Studies.
“We wanted to make sure our students got in touch with family,” she said.
Thapalia’s husband’s family is from Nepal.
“One cousin wrote there were 100 aftershocks,” she said.
Both Gautam and Thapalia, however, feel a sense of relief knowing they can stay in touch and know many of their family members are safe.
“To get their messages is very good,” Gautam said, “But I’m concerned about the country itself.”
Applications like Viber are offering free phone calls to Nepal for international students. In addition, Facebook offers a safety check-in, which Gautam used on Monday.