Updated 04/27/15 – 11:17 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Leaders of Chicago’s Nepalese community are mobilizing to send help back to their homeland, after more than 3,600 people died in a magnitude 7.8 earthquake.
Just seeing all the damage and devastation in Nepal had people in Chicago asking what they can do to help.
About 50 Nepalese-Chicagoans met at Curry House restaurant in the South Loop restaurant on Sunday to coordinate a fundraising effort. The restaurant is one of three collecting donations to send to the victims. Curry House already raised more than $2,500 to send to Nepal, as of Monday morning.
The restaurants also are collecting other items; like medical supplies, batteries, two-way radios, clothes, shoes, and blankets.
Sharda Thapa, a member of the America Nepal Medical Foundation, said since the Saturday earthquake, the needs are growing more desperate by the day.
“They’re running short of drinking water and, because of the earthquake, many people were still staying outside and they need tents. Eventually, there are going to be food shortages,” Thapa said.
With so many injured, he said hospitals are running out of medical supplies. Thapa said there are about 15,000 Nepalis scattered throughout the Chicago area. He and the other community leaders have set up a website for donations.
The disaster in Nepal struck close to home at Curry House, as owner Bhoh Raj Ghimire’s mother and sister live in Katmandu. They survived the quake, and so did more than 20 other relatives, but left without a home, they’ve been living out of tents.
Their homes were reduced to rubble, so they’ve been spending their nights in the center of town with other survivors, many of whom fear to go back inside any building with a roof, should there be any more aftershocks.
Ghimire said, when he spoke to his mother on the phone Sunday night, she sobbed.
“They can’t do anything, because of the earthquake. They are sitting in the tent in the middle of city,” he said. “We are not sleeping at all here. We are thinking of Nepal, and how can we help them. … There is no house, no road, no electricity, no drinking water. If we can, we have to do something for our country.”
Donations can be dropped off at Curry House, at 899 S. Plymouth Ct.; at Cumin in Wicker Park, at 1414 N. Milwaukee Av.; or Mt. Everest Restaurant, at 630 Church St. in Evanston. If you plan to donate money, checks can be made out to Nepal Earthquake Fund.