CHARLESTON, W.Va.–University of Charleston students from Nepal and others gathered in front of the school’s Riggleman Hall Tuesday night for a candlelight vigil to honor the victims of the earthquake that has ravaged the small Asian nation.

Holding signs that said “Pray For Nepal”, the several dozen students who gathered lit many candles that spelled out “Nepal” with a heart around it and flowers. UC Student Puja Dhimal, who organized the event, said it was important to pray for the more than 5,000 people that have died.

“We’re trying to support people who have been suffering,” she said. “Thousands of people have lost their lives and we’re praying for their souls.”

Another student, Reshab Basnet, had just returned from Nepal hours earlier. The awful firsthand experience of what had happened to his country brought him to the vigil to support his countrymen.

“I just came here to show my support,” he said. “Back home I’ve witnessed firsthand how terrifying this was for the entire nation. But one thing I can tell you is that it’s brought the people of Nepal together.”

UC President Ed Welch said magnitude of what happened is difficult to imagine without being present.

“The horror of what’s happened is difficult for us to comprehend at a distance,” Welch said. “Photographs help tell some of the story. To realize that more than 5,000 people have been killed is difficult to comprehend.”

The university will organize a clothing drive for the victims. Dhimal hopes that as semester winds down and students want to get rid of old clothes, they’ll donate some of what they don’t want to earthquake victims.

“Right now we set up boxes at each dorm where students can drop of their clothes,” she explained. “It’s finals week so it’s a good time for students to clean up their dorms. They can take whatever clothes they don’t need and drop it at the checkpoints.”

The ceremony included a minute-long moment of silence for the victims. Basnet, who had been visiting Nepal, said it was the aftershocks, not the initial earthquakes that had done the most damage and caused the most loss of life.

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