Amateur Radio’s “vital role” in the 2015 Nepal earthquake response was the topic on June 2 as the City of Santa Clara, California, hosted Sanjeeb Panday, 9N1SP, of Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu Nepal. Given that the Silicon Valley and the Kathmandu Valley share the common geography of multiple, nearby earthquake fault lines, the subject was relevant. The Santa Clara Fire Department sponsored the presentation, with an eye toward applying the lessons learned in the wake of the Nepal earthquake to better prepare for a similar disaster in the Silicon Valley.
“The Nepali people have gone through a tremendous ordeal,” Panday told the audience. “If our experience can help others in different parts of the world [to] better prepare for disasters, then this can be regarded as a positive outcome.”
Nearly 100 spectators attended Panday’s presentation, including firefighters, emergency response officials, City of Santa Clara ARES/RACES members, Bay-Net participants, and members of the Nepali-American Community. Scout leader Richard Silkebakken, KM6CPH, and members of Cub Scout Pack 32 (Monterrey Bay Council) presented Panday with two hand-held transceivers for delivery to Scouts in Nepal. Also during the event, the office of US Rep Mike Honda presented the Global Nepali Professional Network (GNPN or CAN-USA) with a “Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition.” Through its Radio Mala program, GNPN funded and helped to construct the only two Amateur Radio repeaters operating in Nepal during the earthquake.
Panday was in the US to attend the International Microwave Symposium (IMS), where he addressed a panel on Amateur Radio in post-secondary education. On June 1, he also spoke to the US Geological Survey.
Second-generation Nepali-American Suresh Ojha, W6KTM, said he was “thrilled that the international community is recognizing one of the heroes of the Nepal earthquake.” Even more gratifying, he added, was that the academic community and governments within the US are looking at Nepal’s earthquake experience with an eye to applying the lessons learned to the challenges faced in the US.