On Saturday morning April 25th, a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck north west Nepal devastating the districts of Lamjung and Gorkha and entire sections of the capital city, Kathmandu. The impact has been felt in India and Pakistan. The earthquake epicentre is in a densely populated area in Gandaki, near Pokhara. Many aftershocks – measuring above 5 on the Richter scale – have been recorded. Major structures have collapsed and there are gaping cracks in roads. Hospitals are overwhelmed in this already impoverished nation. This is the worst natural disaster to hit Nepal in 81 years.
Various reports estimate the death toll of this tragedy at approximately 2000 already. This figure is likely to continue to increase as emergency workers try desperately to rescue people trapped inside ruined buildings.
With large aftershocks still rattling the region, the situation remains critical and conditions unstable. To make matters worse, the weather is cold with rain expected over the next week at least. As people have been driven from their crumbling homes, they must face these harsh conditions sleeping outside and competing for very limited medical, food and water resources.
Thankfully our latest reports from the Umbrella Team in Kathmandu are positive as all children, staff and volunteers based in Swayambhu were reported safe. However, the homes are compromised so everyone has been forced to sleep outside in the area between Gauri Shankar home and the office. Communications are limited and scarce due to power outages and phone network congestion. Most of Umbrella’s youths and reintegrated children are still unaccounted for as of today Sunday 26th April but every effort is being made to contact and support the Umbrella family.
Our own Stephen Jenkinson and Macartan Gaughan will be on route to Nepal personally to coordinate and support the relief efforts on the ground.
GOAL, who have considerable experience in disaster relief, and The Umbrella Foundation will be working together to help the people of Nepal. Access to clean water, food, shelter and medical supplies will be of paramount importance in the comings days and the focus will be on search & rescue as well as provision of shelter to the Nepali people.
Please donate directly to Umbrella to support our emergency relief effort here: http://umbrellanepal.org/donate/
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