The devastation is absolute. So too, among many, is the feeling of despair. And while the chaos in Nepal may seem a world away, it is hitting far too close to home for others.
"I was in total shock. I could not believe it for a while. It was so unreal," said Pawan Rai, an assembly process engineer at Pratt & Whitney's Middletown Engine Center.
Rai hails from Nepal and moved to the United States when he was 19. He learned of the massive earthquake from a news alert on his phone. Close to 8,000 people perished in the disaster.
It was as if waiting a lifetime to hear news of his family, hours spent wondering if they were alive. The comfort he thirsted for finally arrived.
"I'm thinking, 'Oh my God, are they okay?' One of my aunts, actually, she is living in the United Kingdom currently; she was visiting at the same time (of the earthquake). She told me it happened as they were outside. They were just running. They see this building coming down, people everywhere in panic. Even my aunt was running to be safe," Rai said.
With his extended family now safe, his focus turns to help those in need. Rai says he's grateful Pratt & Whitney had donated $10,000 for disaster relief to the American Red Cross. The company is also matching employee donations using United Technologies' matching gift program.
"The money that you donate will definitely help someone over there. Maybe a starving child gets some food; homeless people get a roof over their head, put clothes on somebody," Rai said.
There will be a time when despair is replaced by hope. Judging from the response he has seen from his co-workers, Rai feels that time is now.
"It's a tough time, it's been very tough. I actually grew up in Nepal which is one of the poorest countries in South Asia. Being that we are so privileged about living in this country, we now have an opportunity to help them do something about it," Rai said.
For more information on how you can help the victims of the Nepal earthquake, please click here.