Vigils held across the US to pray for victims

THE massive earthquake in Nepal that has killed more than 3,200 people so far has prompted vigils as far away as the United States, where those from the Nepalese community, as well as those who have missing family and friends, prayed for the ravaged country.

In New York City's borough of Queens, more than 200 people, many Nepalese, gathered for a candlelight vigil to remember the victims, reported the New York Daily News.

Some of the attendees had relatives in the country during the time the quake struck, like Ms Penpa Lhamo, 27, whose parents were at home in Nepal's capital of Kathmandu. "They were scared for their lives. But there was nothing they could do. I was really scared for them. And helpless. I couldn't do anything," the New York Daily News quoted her as saying.

Restaurant manager Gyaltsen Gurung, 32, managed to contact his family, who were safe, but his employees were not so lucky. "All of my employees are Nepalese," the New York Daily News quoted him as saying. "My employee's sister-in-law passed away."

In Boston, about 1,000 people attended another vigil in Copley Square on Sunday, reported The Boston Globe.

Nepali residents of the city had organised the vigil. Mr Pankaj Khadka, 25, managed to contact his parents, who are alive, but Mr Saakar Thapa said his uncle died after a door fell on him as he was trying to escape from a four-storey building, according to the Globe.

Meanwhile, relatives of a Boston couple who were at Mount Everest's base camp when the quake struck have been frantically trying to contact them, but to no avail.

Paediatrician Carol Pineda, 37, and lawyer Michael MacDonald, 38, were reported missing when they did not answer phone calls and online message after the earthquake.

Their families have started an online campaign to appeal for information about the couple's whereabouts. They were last heard from a week ago when they set out for base camp, according to the Globe.

"We don't know if they made it to base camp before the earthquake, or if they were below base camp," the Globe quoted Dr Pineda's brother James as saying.

"It's horrendous," Mr MacDonald's mother Marie was quoted as saying by the Globe of her feelings after she got word of the disaster.

Other cities holding vigils across the US include Cary, North Carolina, and West Hartford, Connecticut.

In Cary, which is home to a large Nepalese community, dozens packed a park from 6pm for a vigil to remember the quake victims, reported ABC News.

In West Hartford, the Nepalese Association of Connecticut organised a candlelight vigil to pray for the victims, reported Fox News. The association will also aid disaster victims by raising funds through seeking donations from private individuals and small businesses.