We are a nation of givers and have a track record of generously giving to countries in their time of need. Take for instance the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria, the devastating Ebola outbreak, the Philippines typhoon and the now the recent destruction caused by the earthquake in Nepal.
The deadly earthquake, which shattered the capital Kathmandu and many areas around it, was the biggest in over 80 years and measured a staggering 7.8 on the Richter scale. There have been over 60 aftershocks reported, which have sent ripples as far as Bangladesh and China, some of the aftershocks have even caused deaths in these countries. Their entire infrastructure has been destroyed, with many people sleeping in the cold on the streets to avoid entering buildings that are in danger of collapse. The earthquake has been said to have affected 8 million people and according to the charity UNICEF, nearly 1 million of which are children.
More and more survivor stories and reports of unimaginable loss and braveness are coming in from the ground, each as completely desperate and heart-breaking as the next. There were even weather reports suggesting possible heavy rain which would slow down or completely stop the recovery process. Videos are being uploaded to YouTube showing the earthquake as it happened, CCTV footage of buildings crumbling following the massive quake and of survivors being pulled from the rubble days after. It’s easy to watch these videos, or see the reports on the news and forget that these are real people, with real lives, who have had their whole world torn apart; many suffering serious injuries, the loss of loved ones and an overwhelming number having lost absolutely everything.
The effects have been felt here in the UK too as many Britons have been caught up in the tragedy, with many still desperately trying to contact families living in Nepal which is a near impossible task with so many phone lines damaged.
In many smaller villages on the outskirts of Kathmandu, buildings made with mud have been partially or completely destroyed, trapping people and possessions in their grasp. Damage to roads and the threat of further aftershocks has meant that aid in the form of medical supplies and medial teams, water, food, sanitation and heavy lifting equipment is now only just reaching the more remote villages affected.
The aid effort so far in the UK alone is said to have raised over £15 million, but much more is still needed. Over 5,000 people have died and over 10,000 have been injured, figures which although won’t be fully accurate for weeks to come are rising day by day. Beyond the immediate rescue effort, donations will also be vital in the rebuilding of Nepal and repairing of people’s lives, which is sadly something that won’t just happen overnight. The situation on the ground is still chaotic.
Although a very rare occurrence, unfortunately there is room for exploiting people’s generosity. If you do want to give money, it is important to only give to registered, reputable charities who will ensure that the donations will reach those affected and in need. Many charities have now set up urgent emergency aid appeals; British Red Cross, UNICEF, Oxfam, DEC to name but a few.
The time to give is now.