A PORT Macquarie specialist with close ties to Nepal plans to head to the disaster zone in a matter of days to lend medical expertise and reunite with his daughter.
Specialist gynaecologist obstetrician Dr Ray Hodgson, who founded charitable organisation Australians for Women's Health, hopes to be there when his daughter Eloise Woods returns to Kathmandu.
The 21-year-old university student was on a trek at the time of the earthquake after joining her father on a visit to Nepal as part of his humanitarian work.
The latest unofficial report indicates Eloise's trekking party is cut off by recent avalanches and unable to reach Lukla, home to the nearest airport.
"I had a taste for 24 hours of the agony of what parents think when they may have lost their child, and often with a far worse outcome," Dr Hodgson said.
"I feel helpless here."
Dr Hodgson is feeling much more positive after receiving indirect word that his daughter is alive.
On a medical front, Dr Hodgson plans to put his general medical skills into action in Nepal, relieve his colleagues and support them emotionally.
"I imagine psychologically it is going to be very hard," he said.
"In our training as young doctors, we are trained to divorce ourselves from the emotional side of it, but at times, that is quite challenging."
Dr Hodgson expects to be mainly based at Dhulikhel Hospital, 30 kilometres from Kathmandu.
Meanwhile, Australians for Women's Health is working with a non-government organisation to build a 25-bed general hospital, which will become a major teaching hospital, in remote Nepal.
It is anticipated construction will start late this year.
"This crisis has made it even more urgent we get this hospital built," Dr Hodgson said.
Australians for Women's Health, a humanitarian organisation devoted to improving women's health in developing countries, is seeking corporate sponsors to support the hospital project.
"Having been over there, I know how poor the health system is, particularly in remote Nepal, and it reinforces how lucky we are here," Dr Hodgson said.
"Now with this devastation, the contrasts are ridiculous."
Find out more about Australians for Women's Health at www.a4wh.org
The Red Cross has hundreds of volunteers on the ground in Nepal as part of its relief effort.
Australian Red Cross has launched the Nepal Region Earthquake Appeal to provide humanitarian support.
People can donate online at www.redcross.org.au/nepal-earthquake-2015.aspx, call 1800 811 700 or send a cheque or money order to Nepal Region Earthquake Appeal, Australian Red Cross, GPO Box 2957, Melbourne, Victoria, 3001.
Wauchope-based Asian Aid has committed to providing an initial amount of up to $40,000 to help its partners in Nepal respond to community needs.
Hastings residents can donate to the earthquake response online at www.asianaid.org.au or by calling Asian Aid on 6586 4250.