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Nepalese living on LI vow to help quake victims

People stand on top of debris from a

People stand on top of debris from a collapsed building at Basantapur Durbar Square watching the destruction after an earthquake on Saturday, April 25, 2015, in Kathmandu, Nepal. Credit: Getty Images / Omar Havana

The massive earthquake that devastated parts of Nepal Saturday left dozens of Long Islanders fearing for family and friends in their native country.

From Hicksville to Brentwood, they made frantic calls to relatives. Some gathered with neighbors to pray for the dead. Others began raising money for survivors.

"I'm very worried about my family and everyone there," said Arjun Prasad Mainali, 46, of Hicksville, whose father and uncle live about 30 miles east of the capital Kathmandu, near where the quake originated.

Mainali, who moved to the United States about 15 years ago, said he spoke with his father by phone Saturday afternoon and learned he was not harmed. He had yet to hear from his uncle.

"I am concerned, because there is no more room in the hospitals and doctors are treating people in the streets," said Mainali, one of 175 people of Nepalese descent living on Long Island, according to the 2010 Census. "It's a disaster."

The violent temblor and aftershocks have caused widespread fatalities and destruction, officials said.

Mainali, who works for an insurance company, said he immediately began raising money for quake survivors. He also intends to donate a portion of his weekly paycheck to recovery efforts.

"It's cold there right now, and people need clean drinking water," he said. "It's very painful to see what is happening there."

Nima Dahal, 43, of Brentwood, said her younger sister, Sita, who lives near Kathmandu, suffered cuts and bruises during the quake.

"My sister was walking and she fell down, and the buildings around her started shaking and crumbling," said Dahal, a pharmacy worker and Nepal native who spoke with Sita by phone Saturday afternoon. "She is OK, thankfully, other than some bumps and things she got when she fell. But I think she is traumatized."

Dahal said Sita's children also were banged up.

"They are resilient," she said. "They fell and hurt their knees and arms but they are doing fine and helping others."

Dahal said her sister told her that bodies were being pulled from the rubble of buildings in her neighborhood, calling the destruction "unimaginable."

"People are suffering, my sister is suffering, and we are so far away," Dahal said. "We have never been through something like this. It's very difficult."

Dahal's husband, Prashant, 45, who works in finance, said the tight-knit community of Nepalese families living in Nassau and Suffolk will "do everything in our power" to help Nepal rebuild.

"We are here to help and to pray," he said.

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