Chicago’s Nepali community raising money for earthquake victims

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Some of their relatives are stranded.

Others are living in tents.

So Sunday, more than 50 members of Chicago’s Nepali community gathered at the Chicago Curry House in the South Loop to figure out how they could help the victims of the weekend earthquake that devastated Nepal, killed more than 2,500 people and levelled homes and centuries-old temples.

They decided to raise money through the Chicagoland Nepali Friendship Society website. Bala Ghimire, an owner of Curry House, said a fund-raising link will be available by Monday at http://www.cnfsusa.org. He also said donations can be mailed or dropped off at Curry House, 899 South Plymouth.

Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake spread horror from Kathmandu to small villages and to the slopes of Mount Everest, triggering an avalanche that buried part of a base camp packed with foreign climbers preparing to make their summit attempts. At least 18 people died there and 61 were injured.

Ghimire said his mother and brother in Nepal ran out of their 10-bedroom brick home just before it collapsed during the earthquake.

“They’re fine,” Ghimire said.

Sharda Thapa, a member of the America Nepal Medical Foundation who attended Sunday’s meeting at the Curry House, said his siblings had been on a day trip with other relatives 40 miles east of Kathmandu when the earthquake hit.

“They got shaken every which way,” Thapa said.

Trees shook as if in a violent thunderstorm, he said. And then he said his family watched cottages tumble down the hillside. He said the earthquake left the roads unpassable, so his relatives found themselves stranded.

Thapa said the Nepali community members who gathered Sunday at the Curry House wanted to make sure the money donated to help the earthquake victims would not be misused.

The vast majority of the Nepalese community in the U.S.is made up of working professionals, Thapa said.

“The community can probably generate substantial funds,” Thapa said.

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