Even on normal days, Dr. Kusum Thapa spends her time helping the people of Nepal. Thapa, a Nepali physician, works with Johns Hopkins’s non-profit international health affiliate Jhpiego as a maternal health expert. And so when a devastating earthquake hit Kathmandu recently, Thapa knew what she had to do.
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake and its aftershocks killed thousands, wounded many more, destroyed buildings, and created a pervasive atmosphere of fear. Many people’s homes were destroyed; even those whose houses were intact were afraid to reenter them, for fear that unstable foundations and on-going aftershocks would lead to a building collapse. And so, according to the Hopkins Hub, Thapa played host to more than 1,000 Nepalis in her family compound. “The door was open for anybody who did not have a place to stay,” Thapa told the Hub.
Thapa, her family, and many volunteers erected tents, sought out food and medical supplies, and cared for mothers with infants. While most of those neighbors have now returned home, the work of rebuilding Nepal is just beginning. The next task: Dealing with the collapse of the maternal health building at Kathmandu’s main hospital. You can donate to Jhpiego’s efforts to help women and infants in Nepal here.