Prayers of mourning and hope filled the halls of the Portland Hindu Temple in Tigard on Sunday night as community members from all religions came together to pray for the victims of the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck Nepal near the capital city of Kathmandu last week.
During the event, Umesh Phuyal, the Treasurer of the Nepali Association of Oregon, looked around with a smile on his face. One after one, community members filed toward Phuyal to donate money.
Phuyal has several family members who were displaced as a result of the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck Nepal last week near the capital city of Kathmandu. He has spent the last week fundraising for victims of the earthquake, so far gathering $23,000.
“I think people are aware that this is a very big crisis,” Phuyal said. “People are aware of the tragedy that has happened back there and they know that we need to help all those who were affected.”
Phuyal said that the association is working directly with various organizations in Nepal to ensure the money goes directly to victims.
Since the earthquake struck, more than 7,000 people have lost their homes. Ganga Sharma of Portland, who moved to the United States in 1978, has sisters in Nepal who have been displaced by the earthquake.
“They don’t have homes, so they’re living with with someone else,” Sharma said. “There are a lot of other Nepalese here in the community whose families have lost homes, and they’re all coming to terms, trying to re-build them.”