Ottawa, April 25, 2015 – The Red Cross is providing emergency assistance following a magnitude 7.9 earthquake that struck near Kathmandu, Nepal, causing widespread devastation. Canadians are encouraged to help support emergency response efforts by making a donation to the Canadian Red Cross.
“This earthquake struck a highly populated area, and we know that emergency relief including, shelter, water and healthcare are urgently needed,” says Hossam Elsharkawi, Director of International Emergencies and Recovery for the Canadian Red Cross. “Red Cross teams are currently working in Nepal and the region to make sure that people get the help they need.”
The earthquake has caused buildings to collapse in Kathmandu and hundreds of people are reported to have been killed. The main hospitals in the capital continue to function but are stretched to capacity and it is not clear the extent to which essential services have been disrupted. Strong aftershocks continue to be felt, causing a risk of further damage to many buildings and triggering concern and fear among the local population, many of whom are afraid to return to their homes. Relief efforts are being hampered by roads that have been damaged or blocked by landslides and downed communication lines.
The epicentre of the quake was 80 kilometres from Kathmandu in Lamjung, Gorkha district, which suffered significant damage. The shock was felt nationwide and as far as Pakistan, Tibet and Bangladesh. It is not clear how it has affected neighbouring Sikkim, Bihar and West Bengal.
The Nepal Red Cross has extensive experience in responding to natural disasters and plays a lead role in the government’s contingency plans for such events. Emergency responders from the Red Cross trained in first aid and search and rescue have been mobilized to affected areas and are assisting people impacted by the earthquake. The Red Cross has limited stocks of emergency relief items available in the country and ready to be distributed. Additional relief materials will be brought in from within the region.
“The Red Cross is the world’s largest disaster aid organization, with support from volunteers and citizens around the world,” adds Elsharkawi. “In times of need, such as this earthquake, we are able to mobilize our global resources and channel help into the affected area.”
Canadians are encouraged to support people impacted by this disaster by making a donation to the Canadian Red Cross Nepal Region Earthquake Fund at www.redcross.ca, by calling 1-800-418-1111 FREE or by contacting their local Canadian Red Cross office. Canadians can text REDCROSS To 45678 to donate $10.
About the Canadian Red Cross
Here in Canada and overseas, the Red Cross stands ready to help people before, during and after a disaster. As a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which is made up of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and 189 national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, the Canadian Red Cross is dedicated to improving the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada and throughout the world.