Hollywood actress Yeoh raises money for Nepal

Kathmandu (IANS): She was in Nepal as a tourist when the quake unleashed death and destruction in the Himalayan nation. Now actress Michelle Yeoh, famous for her roles in Oscar-winning “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and James Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies”, is raising charity.

“It’s not a one-month or one-year job but (will take) many years to help the people in need. And I am ready,” the Malaysia-born Yeoh told IANS.

“Rains are going to set in this Himalayan terrain soon. Then there will be harsh winter. Time is running short. We still have to reach out to many unfortunate ones,” said Yeoh, who is also the brand ambassador of ‘Live to Love’ foundation.

The actor visited quake-hit villages on the outskirts of Kathmandu in the past two days to see the rehabilitation work undertaken by the foundation’s head and Buddhist leader Gyalwang Drukpa, the spiritual head of the 1,000-year-old Drukpa Order based in India.

“I came across many babies who still need immediate health attention. We have to nourish them and, of course, rehabilitate their mothers who still are in shock,” Yeoh said.

“Providing tents is the temporary relief at this point in time. But we have to provide them new accommodation, which can’t be built overnight. If we are reaching out to them now, we have to be with them for years.”

Yeoh was earlier in Kathmandu accompanying fiance Jean Todt for the Federation Internationale De L’Automobile (FIA) Asia-Pacific Sport Regional Congress when the massive earthquake stuck on April 25 killing over 8,000 people, injuring thousands and causing widespread destruction.

While Todt from France is president of the world motorsport governing body, Yeoh is its road safety ambassador. The couple met UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and asked to support the Nepal earthquake victims.

Recalling, the actor said the quake was a horrifying experience.

“We were terrified and traumatized and praying all the time to get evacuated as early as possible. Only after a few hours of the quake and aftershocks did we dare to enter the hotel. We all were praying: ‘Please give us a few minutes to reach our room on the sixth floor to collect our passports and money’,” she said.

In her new role in the real life, Yeoh rolls up her sleeves and feels connected to the Nepalese.

“We spent the night at the airport in fear. Next day we managed to get ourselves evacuated. What about the thousands who couldn’t get timely evacuation? I am back here to conquer my fears and to find out what more needs to be done on ground zero,” she said.

Yeoh and Todt, who is the UN’s Special Envoy for Road Safety, raised charity for the people of Nepal and pledged to raise more.

“My friends in the US, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Europe made some contributions and more help is in the pipeline.”

Todt’s FIA has announced to contribute 100,000 euros for relief and rehabilitation.

The donation will be routed through the Emergency Action Fund of the Nepal Automobile Sports Association.

“The amount will be spent on setting up emergency trauma centres across the country. FIA is planning rehabilitating the people at least for 10 years,” she said.

The ‘Live to Love’ foundation, with which Yeoh is associated for four years, on Sunday formally adopted Ramkot, the badly-hit village located near Druk Amitabha Monastery in Kathmandu.

The foundation, known worldwide for environmental activities, is set up by Buddhist leader Gyalwang Drukpa, the spiritual head of the 1,000-year-old Drukpa Order based in India with around 1,000 monastic centres.