Helping Nepal

The death toll from last Saturday’s 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Nepal has surpassed 4,600 with officials saying that number could reach 10,000 as aid workers continue to search through the rubble.

Officials say it’s the Himalayan nation’s deadliest disaster in more than 80 years. It is hard to imagine the devastation – we only see the haunting images on TV and in newsprint, but actually being there would of course be virtually unimaginable. Numerous agencies have rushed to assist those affected in the disaster, and we here at home can certainly do our part by supporting these frontline organizations.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is mounting an emergency operation to help survivors with food trucks rolling today into the district of Gorkha, one of the worst hit areas. WFP plans to provide food for 1.4 million people in urgent need of assistance over the next three months.

Distributions of rice are expected to start today in Gorkha, using stocks that WFP already had in-country from its existing operations prior to the earthquake.

It is estimated that up to eight million people have been affected by the earthquake. Initial estimates from WFP’s assessment teams — working with satellite imagery and existing data — indicate that around 1.4 million people in priority areas urgently need food assistance. Five teams are now conducting field assessments in 11 districts to verify these findings. WFP is funded entirely by voluntary contributions and has appealed for anyone who wishes to help to make a donation at www.wfp.org/nepal.

The Canadian Red Cross is also active onsite as well. Canadians are encouraged to support those impacted by making a donation to the Canadian Red Cross Nepal Region Earthquake Fund at www.redcross.ca, by calling 1-800-418-1111 or by contacting the local Canadian Red Cross office.

Also, the Salvation Army’s International Emergency Services team is currently en route to Nepal to support local officials and assess how best the Salvation Army can respond in partnership with other agencies already on the ground.

Families, the sick and elderly have been packed into parks and other open spaces in Kathmandu after losing their houses and others are too terrified of aftershocks to return home, officials say. The disaster also impacted the local Salvation Army personnel whose home was destroyed in the quake and who are living in the open like many other survivors.

Nepal is a country that has struggled with high unemployment, poverty and hunger for many years. The Salvation Army officially opened its work in Nepal in April 2009.

In response to this tragedy, the Salvation Army’s World Leader, General André Cox, is calling on friends of the Salvation Army, other Salvation Army territories and its members to financially support the relief effort underway in Nepal.

For information on how to help, check out www.salvationarmy.ca/2015/04/27/nepal-disaster-relief.

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