Earthquake survivor's desperate for help

A FORMER Wath man who now teaches in Nepal has appealed for people across Rotherham to help stricken survivors of the recent devastating earthquake.

Steve Priest, who lives with his wife and three-year-old son in Kathmandu, is vice principal of The British School which he says is battling to help victims of the disaster.

As highlighted in last week’s Advertiser (May 1), Mr Priest’s school was caught up in the quake but reopened quickly. However, other linked schools were hit hard.

Now, Mr Priest says that donations to fund repair work are needed urgently.

Officials estimate that up to 10,000 people may have died when the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck on April 25.

Mr Priest told the Advertiser: “As a school we have through our community projects very close relations with three primary schools in the Dhading area which we know have suffered very badly as well as with two local schools that cater for sight and hearing impaired and disabled children.

“The buildings have been devastated and they served large communities of people who needed them desperately.

“Regarding The British School Kathmandu’s adopted primary schools in Dhading near the epicentre, we met with the three principals of the schools. Fortunately none of their children were killed. As it was a Saturday and a nice day outside most of the kids were out enjoying themselves (when the earthquake struck).

“Of the three schools, one which is for the Dalit community kids (untouchables) is totally destroyed and the others have lost three-quarters of their buildings. They have requested immediate aid to supply the families of the kids such as basic foodstuffs and shelter which we are arranging to be sent over.

“The funds we raise will go in the short term to setting up a tented school so the kids can get back to having some form of education and in the long term to building earthquake-resistant buildings for them.

“The schools are all in rural areas between 45 minutes and two hours of the town of Dhading Besi, much of which has been flattened. The area has only one road in and thus supplies are difficult to get in.

“I will be leading at a small group of staff on a recce visit there later this month to further assess the damage and are taking with us a structural engineer who can offer advice on buildings that are damaged and the appropriate ways to rebuild them.”

To contribute to the school’s fund, you can send donations to the TBS UK account, writing ‘TBS Charities’ as the reference, to the British School Kathmandu account 1010938710, IBAN number GB43SCBL60919910938710, sort code 60-91-99, ABA Swift number code SCBLJESH.

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