2 Valley men have ties to Nepal

Michael Kobold of Volant, Pa.

VOLANT, Pa. (WYTV) – Mass chaos and destruction continued Monday, two days after a 7.8 earthquake in Nepal that killed thousands, with more injured and missing.

Niles businessman Upen Khatiwada is from Nepal. He was a teacher and principal for a school district in Kathmandu for a decade. He said the quake has destroyed the city he once called home.

“A lot of people are missing. More than a lot of people I know are dead,” Khatiwada said.

He said his family made it out without serious injuries.

“But we have heard from our neighborhood a lot of people have died,” Khatiwada said.

In Volant in Lawrence County, Pa., watchmaker Michael Kobold opened an office in Kathmandu in 2012. He has six workers in that office, and two of them are still missing.

“I do know that all of my employees have lost their homes. They are destroyed. There are no walls standing,” Kobold said.

Kobold Watch Company has an operation in Pittsburgh and one in Nepal.

Both Kobald and Khatiwada have been in contact with people in Nepal since the earthquake.

Kobold said he has no plans to visit the region soon, but has set up a foundation to help make sure any future earthquakes are not as devastating.

“So what we will do with that is redevelop certain things. We will rebuild an earthquake-proof hospital and earthquake-proof fire hall and an earthquake-proof first responders center,” Kobold said.

It is called the Soarway Foundation.

And while crews continue to search for survivors of the 7.8- magnitude earthquake, the Red Cross has launched an international effort to provide humanitarian assistance. The American Red Cross has committed $300,000 and is working with the Nepal Red Cross and the global Red Cross network to coordinate more support.

To donate online, visit the Red Cross website and click on the donate button, which brings up a form that lets people give directly to earthquake relief. Donations also can be made by phone by calling 1-800-REDCROSS.

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