Bay Area Nepalese groups collect funds for victims of Nepal's earthquake

MILPITAS, Calif. (KTVU) - Four Americans are said to be among the 4,000 people who died from Saturday's devastating earthquake in Nepal.

The State Department said the death toll is expected to rise. Emergency relief efforts are underway to help survivors.

Harihar Dahal made a quick call to his family in Kathmandu, Nepal on Monday. His nephew told him the family is sleeping in open fields. They are afraid to go back in their homes fearing aftershocks.

"There's nothing we can do," said Dahal. "All we can do is call them and say please take care of yourself. It's like I'm helpless. It is very hard."

Dahal manages Casa Azteca Restaurant in Milpitas. He considers himself lucky. His immediate relatives there survived the 7.8 magnitude earthquake. He knows many of his family friends did not.

"I wish I could be there," said Dalal. "I want to help them and grab them and wipe their tears."

Dahal's organization the Sunny Sagarmatha Society is raising money online. So far, the nonprofit has raised $10,000.

His organization is among dozens of Bay Area Nepalese groups that are collecting funds. The American Red Cross Northern California Chapter said the best way to help is to donate money.

"By buying in country you are able to stimulate the economy and get people back to work," said Cynthia Shaw of the American Red Cross. "It will help get them financial resources to help them rebuild."

Dahal knows it will take a long time for his birthplace to rebuild. He said any bit helps right now.

"You help people when they need it," said Dahal. "It's all about being a human being."

People can text the words "Redcross" to 90-999 on a cell phone. It's an automatic $10 donation. People can also donate money through the American Red Cross website.