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27 April 2015

Appeals launched for desperate Nepal earthquake survivors

Appeals launched for desperate Nepal earthquake survivors

Urgent relief is being provided by Alliance members to victims of the Nepal and parts of India this weekend, leaving more than 2,300 dead and thousands seriously injured.

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake has devastated entire communities, with the death toll expected to rise as rescuers continue to reach remote villages.

Christian Aid has said that there could be as many as 80 per cent of homes collapsed near the epicentre, and that the hospitals are struggling to cope with the scale of the disaster.

The charity launched an emergency appeal this weekend, but has already sent nearly £50,000 to the region.

Through Christian Aid's sister organisation, Lutheral World Foundation Nepal (LWF), part of the ACT Alliance, teams are already working on the ground, assisting with the coordination of emergency supplies at a government-run camp that is now sheltering those who have lost their homes.

Christian Aid's Ram Kishan, regional emergency manager of South Asia, based in Delhi, said: "Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the region and has one of the least capacities to deal with an emergency of this scale.

"Medical services and hospitals are facing an immense strain at the moment. In Kathmandu Valley, hospitals are overcrowded, running out of room for storing corpses and also running short of emergency supplies.

"At the moment we know that 6.6m people have been affected. However, the numbers are likely to increase because the earthquake epicentres - mainly Gorkha, Makwanpur and Lamjung - are still not accessible.

"Those affected will have immediate and long-term needs emerging in the coming days. The most pressing need at the moment is for food, water supplies, medication, blankets, hygiene kits and other essentials for people who are displaced."

Alliance member Tearfund has also launched an emergency appeal for immediate prayers and donations to enable the charity to "bring shelter, food and teams trekking over landslides and mountains to find communities no one else has reached".

Tearfund's Jude Collins, who's based in Nepal with her children, survived the quake. She reported from Kathmandu this morning, saying that despite thunderstorms overnight the family were faring better under their tarpaulin shelter than many other families who are sleeping in the fields.

"We had a few tremors in the night including one large jolt and the house earthquake alarms are still pinging from time to time this morning. We are still taking each day as it comes," she said.

Tearfund's international director, David Bainbridge, said: "We won't know the full scale of the earthquake's impact for a few more days, because it has hit a very large area across Nepal, India and neighbouring countries.

"It's a very mountainous region with remote villages which are hard to get to at the best of times. In many places, we'll need to send supplies in by helicopter.

"Our local experts have been helping people to prepare for major disasters, which will have helped to save many lives, but there will still be lots of people living without basic shelter, water supply and food. 

"We're sending more staff in to help them, and we're expecting to find that children are very traumatised. Women will also be vulnerable, especially those having to sleep in open spaces."

Samaritan's Purse is also working through its partners in the area to help in this desperate situation, which was reportedly caused by an earthquake nine times as powerful as the one that struck Haiti in 2010.

The charity is asking for prayers for those affected, and donations for partners on the ground that are providing shelter, water and emergency kits.

To donate to any of the appeals launched by these charities, visit their websites by following the links above.