Student helps home in crisis

Student helps home in crisis

CURTIN University PhD candidate Bipin Shrestha remembers where he was standing on April 25, 2015, the day a magnitude 7.8 earthquake devastated Nepal, killing more than 8000 people.

“I was in Tapoban with my mother, brother and his family. We had just finished observing a waterfall when suddenly a loud grinding noise started,” he said.

“The entire hill started shaking. The strong shaking lasted for nearly a minute. We tried to call family.

“We were reluctant to return home straight away as more aftershocks were coming and we were wary of landslides in the hill roads.

“After waiting for almost couple of hours we decided to return and saw the devastation along the way.”

The 33-year-old was born in Kathmandu. He moved to Perth with his wife in 2012, but had returned home on April 4 for the festival season.

He started learning the basics of earthquake engineering in Nepal in 2006 because of the seismic activity in the south Asian country and inspiration from him mentors.

Mr Shrestha joined Tribhuwan University in Nepal to study a master in structural engineering.

His thesis research works were focused on seismic performance of structures in Nepal.

His hunger to learn and do more in the field of earthquake engineering led the now Langford resident to Perth.

With several years experience and being in Nepal when the earthquake hit, he was able to use his skills to collect field data for the Australian Earthquake Engineering Society (AEES).

“I basically collected the damage details with their geospatial locations and basic summary of damage pattern that could help others to identify the distribution and extent of damages at different locations in Kathmandu valley and eastern hill towns.

Mr Shrestha was supposed to return to Perth on May 9, but extended his stay until May 30 so he could continue to help.

Having seen the horrific impact of the earthquake, he hopes enough is learned to prevent the same thing happening again.

“There is no doubt that we will rise again but we need to ensure that we would rise not to fall again,” said Mr Shrestha, who lost his aunt and 200-year-old ancestral house in the earthquake.