Earthquake Hits Close to Home for Des Moines’ Nepalese Community

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For many Iowans, the horrific images from Nepal may seem distant.

The county sandwiched between India and China is halfway around the world, a 24 hour flight, and 11 time zones away.

For Madan Thapa and Bikal Adhikari, the images hit close to home.

"The epicenter was in the village where I’m from. It had me worried about my parents who still live there," Adhikari said.

Both have been in Iowa for about a decade and are leaders in Des Moines' Nepalese community which consists of about 250 people.

Most of their immediate family members and closest friends are still in Nepal.

"My brother called me. I knew my brother and parents were together so I knew they were safe at that point,” Thapa told Channel 13 News.

Both have confirmed that loved ones are safe mostly through social media sites like Skype and Facebook.

However, thousands of neighbors have lost their lives and many of the city's historic buildings have been reduced to rubble.

“Dharahara is a tall structure. It's a landmark. When you say Kathmandu, you know Dharahara. That is completely gone,” Thapa said.

"All the structures and historical places that say this is Kathmandu are gone. We don't have Kathmandu anymore. We need to rebuild again,” Adhikari said.

From afar, both want to help do exactly that. Rebuild Kathmandu.

The Iowa Nepalese Association is meeting this weekend to discuss local fundraising efforts. Their fellow countrymen and women will be close to their hearts as plans come together.

"Every drop makes an ocean. Small help helps everybody at this point,” Adhikari said.

The Iowa Nepalese Association plans to post updates on their local efforts and how people can help on their website and Facebook page.

The links to both are below.

Website:

http://www.iowanepaleseassociation.org/

Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/IowaNepal?fref=ts