After the earthquake: appeal launched for Nepal

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Following yesterday’s devastating earthquake in Nepal, the British Red Cross has launched an appeal to provide urgent emergency support.

Thousands of lives have been lost to the quake – the worst to hit the region in 80 years – including staff and volunteers from the Nepal Red Cross. More than six million people living within 100 kilometres of the epicentre have potentially been affected.

Making matters worse, rain is predicted throughout the region over the next three days – which will only add to the numerous pressures facing an already desperate population.

The Red Cross appeal will bring in urgently-needed support – including food, safe drinking water, emergency shelter and medical equipment. Every donation will make a big difference.

Search for survivors

Since the disaster hit, Nepal Red Cross volunteers have been searching for survivors through the rubble of collapsed buildings. They are also providing first aid to those injured by the earthquake.

And with so many casualties, the organisation’s solar-powered blood bank in Kathmandu is providing life-saving support.

Built recently – for just these kind of circumstances – it is providing vital blood supplies to medical facilities in the capital.

Cut-off communities

Alexander Matheou, British Red Cross director of programmes, said: “The impact of this powerful earthquake has been devastating.

“People are now sleeping out in the open, too scared to return home while the aftershocks go on. Some have no home to return to.”

He added: “Search and rescue efforts are continuing, but some roads, especially in areas near the epicentre, have been damaged or blocked by landslides or rubble. We are extremely worried about these communities.”

Missing family members

The Red Cross is also offering support to those who have lost contact with family members following the earthquake.

If you have been unable to reach loved ones in the area, the International Committee of Red Cross’ family links website may be able to help.

Those concerned about other British nationals can contact the Foreign & Commonwealth Office on 0207 008 0000.

Trained and prepared

While the situation in Nepal is terrible, many people in the region were already trained and prepared for the worst.

For years now, the British Red Cross – together with Nepal Red Cross – has been working on an earthquake preparedness programme with 66 communities across the Kathmandu valley.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been given useful earthquake preparedness information, and thousands more have been trained in both first aid and light search and rescue techniques. Find out more about how Nepal prepares for earthquakes.