Almost half as small in land area as New Zealand and with a population of 8 million, Nepal is renowned for its striking mountain ranges and rolling hills, exquisite temples and diverse culture. On the 25th of April, this beautiful nation was rocked with a magnitude 7.9 earthquake, deemed the worst disaster in the Himalayan region of almost a century.
Old Kathmandu is a city of densely-packed, poorly-constructed houses stacked on top of each other like a house of cards, predetermining the immense damage an earthquake could inflict. As the disaster struck, chaos erupted in the city. Heart-wrenching photographs show mothers weeping for their lost children, a boy coaxing his dog from what is left of a crumbling apartment, a relative identifying her cousin amongst the dead. The devastation caused by this shattering quake stretches far deeper than crumbled buildings.
The earthquake affected not only Kathmandu, but also remote villages and cities across wider Nepal, extending as far as Northern India, Pakistan and Tibet.
The following day, the fragile city reeled from a 6.7 magnitude aftershock which in turn triggered dozens more avalanches in the surrounding mountains. Some argue over the term ‘aftershock’, as the second quake was actually large enough to be classified as a separate earthquake. This second quake alone killed 718 people and was followed less than 20 minutes later by another smaller quake. Since then, Kathmandu has suffered over 30 aftershocks. These have rendered the teams, working tirelessly to recover victims and provide supplies for those left, homeless.
As of today, 6250 are confirmed dead, and 14357 are injured. Unconfirmed numbers of people are homeless, without water and food. As a third-world country, the lack of infrastructure, poverty and limited resources compound the difficulties faced by Nepal. The Nepalese people’s futures are uncertain but can ultimately be affected by people like us, through donations of money, time or publicity for the cause. The New Zealand Herald has compiled a list of trustworthy organisations that have set up branches dedicated to funding essential equipment for search teams, as well as food, water and supplies for the families affected. Details and contacts about how to donate and specifically where the money is being used can be found on the websites below.
- UNICEF: Visit unicef.org.nz/nepal or call 0800 243 575
- Oxfam: Visit oxfam.org.nz or call 0800 600 700
- Red Cross: Visit redcross.org.nz or call 0800 RED CROSS (0800 733 276)
- ChildFund New Zealand: Visit childfund.org.nz/Nepal-Earthquake-Appeal or call 0800 808 822
- Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand: Visit caritas.org.nz or call 0900 4 11 11
- World Vision: Visit Nepal Earthquake Appeal at worldvision.org.nz or call 0800 90 5000
- New Zealand Nepal Society: Donations can be made to bank account number 01-0142-0053378-00
- Himalayan Trust Rebuild Appeal: Visit givealittle.co.nz/cause/nepalearthquake
- TEAR Fund:Visit tearfund.org.nz or call 0800 800 777
Written by: Georgia Bond. Edited by: Saffron Huang