Fayetteville natives provide earthquake relief in Nepal

FAYETTEVILLE (WTVD) -- When Fayetteville natives Dr. Mark Miller and Donna Decker-McCullom were asked to use their gifts to serve the people in earthquake-ravaged Nepal, they didn't hesitate to say yes.

People in that country are in desperate need of relief following several devastating earthquakes.

The first quake last month left more than 8,000 people dead and thousands more injured. Powerful aftershocks and other earthquakes have followed in recent weeks.

Hours after touching down in Kathmandu, Decker-McCullom was reunited with her friend Dr. Mark Miller, who has been in Nepal for the last week.

"What Mark's been working with is absolutely horrific," Decker-McCullom told ABC11 on Sunday.

A plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Miller is the only American doctor there with the Christian Broadcast Network's humanitarian and disaster relief team.

"I'm seeing mostly burn patients and patients that have been in the earthquake and have broken bones and open wounds requiring skin grafts," said Miller.

His team of more than 40 volunteers is running medical clinics across Nepal tending to a growing number of victims.

"People I guess back in the states don't realize that we're experiencing tremors almost every day," he said.

The tremors and aftershocks are so strong that they register as earthquakes. Just last week, one registered a magnitude of 7.3.
"I'm standing on the ground and the whole earth shakes," Miller recalled. "It is an amazing experience. We saw houses collapsing around us. We saw avalanches. It's just a very frightening thing to undergo."

It's especially frightening for the children, which is why Decker-McCullom, a world-class climber who has already scaled Mt. Everest in recent years, came back to Nepal, equipped with care packages of coloring books and crayons.

"Some of the kids sat in here and spent an hour coloring," she said. "(It's) allowing kids just to be kids."

Meanwhile, tents litter open fields and sidewalks. Miller said it is families seeking open space for fear their own building will crumble.

"It's very emotional for me because these people are already in somewhat poverty country and now with this earthquake is just devastating," he said. "It's scared them."

That's why they're in Nepal giving their time, sacrificing comfort and safety, to give what they can to these people whose needs are so great.

"Yea, we're doing our small part, but if everybody does their small part, we'll get this country back where it needs to be," said Decker-McCullom.

Miller has been in Nepal since May 8. He is coming back to North Carolina on Tuesday. Decker-McCullom arrived early Sunday morning and will stay for two weeks.

- Fayetteville mountain climber headed to Nepal to help with the earthquake relief effort
- North Carolina groups raising money to help Nepal earthquake victims
- How you can help the victims of the Nepal earthquake

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