SALT LAKE CITY -- On a day when hundreds gathered in downtown Salt Lake City to remember the victims of the Nepal earthquake, half a world away a hospital is up and running in Kathmandu thanks to a local non-profit organization.
“We built the building, a 16,000 square foot hospital, for $23 per square foot or about $350,000,” said Jim Webber.
Webber owns Foothill Oriental Rugs in Salt Lake, and some of his manufacturing is in Nepal. The plan to give back by building a hospital was hatched 12 years ago. The Nepal Cleft and Burn Center finally became a reality, opening its doors last March.
As one of the medical facilities to survive the quake, the short-term mission of the hospital changed the day after the disaster.
“Although our hospital was designed for reconstructive surgery, we don’t turn anyone away and the day after the earthquake, we had 100 people arrive at our 50 bed hospital," Webber said.
Webber credits the design of the structure for why it stood while others fell. And, more importantly to him, none of the medical staff were injured.
“It feels very gratifying, and we’re blessed to have the building there. And the community of Kathmandu and the country of Nepal is blessed to have our facility there.”