San Antonio woman originally from Nepal loses mother in earthquake

Local Nepalese community asks for public's help

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SAN ANTONIO – The death toll after last week's earthquake in Nepal has now risen to more than 5,000 people. At least 10,000 more are injured and most of the country lays in ruins.

San Antonio residents originally from Nepal are now asking for the community's help, as some mourn the loss of their own family members.

Among the devastation across Nepal is a unified cry for help. Some people are still being found alive. A 15-year-old boy was found Thursday in the rubble, five days after the 8.1 magnitude earthquake hit.

The pain radiates right here in San Antonio in a Nepalese community of about 250 people.

"I saw a picture on Facebook so I called my mom. She didn't pick up the phone. Then I called my sister and brother and father and they didn't pick up the phone. Then I called my uncle and he told me [my mom] passed away on the spot," said Sweta Sthapit, who spent most of her life in Nepal.

Sthapit's mother is gone and the rest of her family is injured.

"They are in the hospital, but they are OK," she said.

Sthapit finds comfort in tremendous support from around the world.

"I feel better," Sweta said. "My mom couldn't make it, but (those) who are injured, they can. People can save them."

That's why her friends and family locally have started the San Antonio Nepalese Association.

"My parents, my wife's parents, my immediate family, everybody is back there," said Nishant Hada, who started the association.

Hada has lived in San Antonio for five years, running a convenience store. Now, he's turning to his community.

"We need help. We need help right now," he said.

Saturday at 6:30 p.m., Hada, Sthapit and the rest of their community will hold a candle light vigil downtown at the Alamo to pay respects to those killed in Nepal, and to raise money for those still suffering.

"I want people to help Nepal as much as they can. I'm trying to be strong and help my people," Sthapit said.

If you want to donate to the San Antonio Nepalese Association, click here to visit the group's website. If you have any trouble with the website or donating, you can call 210-489-0243.

Organizations such as CARE, the IFRC, International Medical Corps., Nepal Rises and Mercy Corps are already on the ground in Nepal and are accepting donations to aid in the relief effort.

People wishing to donate to relief organizations should also be aware of scammers trying to to take advantage of people's generosity. Click here for information on good donating practices.

About the Author:

Courtney Friedman is a KSAT anchor and reporter. She has an ongoing series called Loving in Fear, confronting Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She's also covered Hurricane Harvey, the shootings in Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe, and tornadoes throughout Texas. She’s a California native and proud Longhorn who loves calling SA home.