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Crowdfunding raises millions for Nepal earthquake victims

Emergency rescue workers carry a victim on a stretcher after Dharara tower collapsed on April 25, 2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal.
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Emergency rescue workers carry a victim on a stretcher after Dharara tower collapsed on April 25, 2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal.

If you want to measure the constructive power of social media, look no further than the crowdfunding campaigns for Nepal earthquake victims, which have proliferated in the days since disaster struck the nation.

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked Nepal on April 25th has claimed over 6000 lives, and left more than 10,000 injured. The Red Cross projects 7 million people may be displaced or affected by this tragedy.

The catastrophe has cleared the way for technology to ride to the rescue. Over $4 million has been raised by more than 553 campaigns between the three largest crowdfunding sitesGoFundMe, Crowdrise and Indegogo.

Facebook alone raised more than $10 million in a couple of days by giving options for its users to donate through its platform. In addition, its Safety Check feature allowed users that may have been affected by disaster to identify that they are safe.

Read MoreFacebook, Google tools help ease Nepal jitters

The news of one of the worst calamities to hit the country in recent years shocked Nepalis everywhere, scrambling them to action.

"The minute I heard, I was like, non-action is not an option. I have to do something," said fashion designer Prabal Gurung who grew up in Nepal but now resides in New York.

Gurung, like many other Nepalis living abroad, quickly connected with his friends on Facebook and together launched a crowdfunding campaign on crowdrise.com. His fundraiser benefits Shikshya Foundation of Nepal, which has single-handedly raised over $485,000 of $750,000 goal in just a week.

"This is truly a wake-up call for our generation and the next to next. This is our calling, this is our time to really truly show up and walk the talk and build a sustainable, environmentally friendly country," he said.

Losses may exceed 10 billion?

Nepal Earthquake Crowdfunders

Crowdsite
Initiative
Fundraiser
$Raised
$Goal
Crowdrise Nepal EQ Relief Fd. Prabal Gurung 494,464 750,000
Indiegogo Nepal EQ Relief Fd. Bijay Acharya 367,133 500,000
Indiegogo Nepal EQ Relief Fd. Lokesh Todi 119,560 150,000
Crowdrise Nepal EQ Victims Relief Fd Help Nepal Network 108,980 100,000
Crowdrise Nepal EQ Relief Sahayeta Org. 94,907 100,000

It's not only the star power of people like Gurung that has attracted donations from the crowd. Thanks to the relative ease of Internet fundraising, many Nepali expatriates living in the U.S. and around the world have been equally involved.

Abhaya Shrestha is a private equity investor in New York who also heads the US chapter of Nepali charity called Help Nepal Network.

"I was flying back to New York from China when the quake hit Nepal. The news when I landed in JFK Airport made time standstill for a minute. I then sprinted in a mad rush to set up crowdfunding–and since then, so many Nepalis have joined the campaign to help people affected by the earthquake."

Mr. Shrestha's campaign raised over $250,000 around the world, in just a matter of days.

In addition to tragic loss of lives, the long-term economic impact of this tragedy is expected to be massive.

The U.S Geological Survey estimates that there's a 34 percent chance that total losses could exceed $10 billion, the rough equivalent of half the country's gross domestic product.

For now, Nepal's well-wishers around the world are helping to offset some of those staggering losses through donations on crowfunding sites, and sending money home for relief and rebuilding.

BY CNBC's Pradip Sigdyal. Follow him on Twitter: @PSigdyal