North Texas Nepalese Pray, Plan Aide for Quake Victims

A prayer vigil was held Sunday afternoon

At least 3,218 people are dead across the Himalayan nation of Nepal after a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake on Saturday.

And with thousands of Nepalese sleeping in the streets, more aftershocks rattled the nation on Sunday, with the largest at a magnitude of 6.7.

In North Texas on Sunday, hundreds gathered at the Nepali Cultural & Spiritual Center to offer prayers to their loved ones and their fellow countrymen.

"I'm really scared, it's really a bad situation," said Jiwan Ghimii, a Nepal native.

Ghimii moved to the United States seven years ago. Despite water and electricity concerns he has spoken with his brother, sister and parents. However, his parents are unable to meet up with each other after being in separate parts of the country. His brother and sister are in hard hit Katmandu, where they join thousands in the streets. 

"I just talked to my brother a few minutes ago, they're outside, the rescue team is not working right now because of heavy rain," Ghimii said. "There are a lot of people staying outside without tents. It’s raining. They have nothing."

Watching from more than 8,000 miles away, it's a hopeless feeling for many. Some who attended the prayer vigil shed tears and one another as they worry about loved ones.

"All I can do is share my prayer for them, try to contact them," Ghimii said.

That's not all Ghimii is doing though, in addition to sending prayers some organizations are already sending money and the cultural center plans to send supplies as well as people to the region.

We are trying to help as soon as possible," said David Acharya.

Acharya's Arlington-based HDNP International serves food to the homeless in DFW each week and monthly in his native Nepal. Acharya says his group is already dispersing food.

Meanwhile the Nepali Society of Texas says it plans to send around 15 volunteers to Nepal to help distribute supplies, particularly medical supplies. The fear is disease will soon spread and many are running out of water.

A representative of Sewa International USA told the prayer vigil that $10,000 has already been sent.

On Monday at the Nepali Cultural & Spiritual Center on Grauwyler Road in Irving, the local Nepalese community will be collecting supplies, specifically medical supplies. However, they say they are in desperate to ship the materials to Nepal.

They're efforts that are just a part of the international response, as the death toll is expected to rise by both experts and the native Nepalese.

"This number is maybe thirty, forty, 50,000, we're expecting," Acharya said.

And while the worst is expected, it won't stop the prayers or the the efforts to send help.

"I'm trying to get help from anybody that can help," Ghimii said.

To learn more about how you can help, visit the websites of Nepali Society of Texas, HDNP International or Sewa International USA.

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