Local News

UNC prof survives deadly Nepal earthquake, plans to return

Posted May 13, 2015

— Lauren Leve survived one of Nepal’s worst earthquakes in decades.

Now she’s planning a trip back to the disaster-stricken country.

Leve, a religious studies professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has spent the last few decades working on a book about the country.

She never considered abandoning those who have become like family to her.

"The first thing I heard was this just huge noise and explosion," said Leve, who was in Kathmandu when the magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit on April 25. "Then the ground just started to shake. It threw me to the floor. I thought this was the big one and I was going to die."

After the shaking stopped, Leve got a first-hand look at the damage.

"Every five or six buildings, one would be just completely down, or there would be one that just fell over," she said.

Two days later, Leve found out that she could leave Nepal, but passed on the offer because so many of her friends needed help.

"I decided between my family worrying and between what I had seen," she said. "I thought there would be an opportunity to come back to the states just for three weeks and maybe I could maybe let people know what was happening."

Leve returned to North Carolina on Monday. Hours later, the country was hit by a second deadly earthquake.

"They were starting to get some possible hope of stability and this will become less and less and we will eventually resume our lives,” she said. “The second earthquake has destroyed that security."

Leve said she will return to Nepal in three weeks to continue her research. She plans to remain there until August.


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