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Local woman hears from loved ones in Nepal; encourages Chattanoogans to donate

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It's a desperate search for survivors following the devastating earthquake in Nepal.

This is the moment Nepal was brought to its knees. Thousands were killed, and now finding survivors is becoming a race against time and resources.

A local woman says she Skyped with her daughter who lives there just hours before the quake hit Saturday, and the hours following, she was left waiting in agony and wondering.

Hedi Lee-Hesse's daughter Brenna K. Murphy is in Nepal for an artist residency program, one she was supposed to start classes for next week. Murphy's boyfriend, Drew Haxby is a University of Michigan doctoral student, studying social anthropology in Nepal.

Hess says she's lucky they are both ok- and even luckier that she knows for sure, with millions of families without communication.

"I got a text from Drew's emergency phone at 3:56 a.m. I will never forget that. He said we've have an earthquake. We're ok. Don't worry about us. That was it," said Hess. "My very first impulse as a mother was come home. Come home right now."

It was nearly 20 hours after that text before Hesse heard another word from her daughter Brenna, and Brenna's boyfriend Drew, who currently live in Kathmandu, Nepal.

She's been glued to the computer ever since, waiting for more written words from her loved ones.

"Every time there's a ding. It doesn't matter who it is, I'm looking," said Hesse.

Both survived the earthquake without injury, but are now just trying to survive.

"They are camping outside a field under a tarp, no one is staying inside a structure right now," said Hesse. "Any of the structures that haven't already been damaged or haven't already fallen down, have been damaged enough that an aftershock would make them come down."

Water is a big concern. Even before the earthquake, water was not clean enough to drink and they fear bottles of it will soon be in short supply. But Brenna and Drew aren't letting that discourage them.

"The field where they are staying has become it's own little community. They're all looking after each other," said Hesse.

However, not every community affected has help readily available.

"It's backpacking on mules," said Hesse.

And Hesse encourages everyone who can, to donate, to help the people of Nepal, where there's an immediate need for essentials.

"Medical aid and sanitation. Nepal is such a poor country that they don't have the infrastructure to deal with this kind of disaster," said Hesse.

Good World Goods in Chattanooga is hosting a ‘paint for Nepal' fundraiser on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., all of the proceeds going to Global Giving; a group that provides relief efforts. Every canvas is a ten dollar donation. If you'd like more info on global giving, click here.

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