The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) in Scotland has today announced its appeal to help survivors of the devastating Nepal earthquake.
All 13 DEC member agencies have joined the appeal and are starting to get life-saving aid to those most in need. Donations are already being accepted via the DEC website and the 24-hour donations line: www.dec.org.uk or 0370 60 60 900.
Money raised will support DEC members to reach families affected by Saturday’s 7.8 quake which struck west of the capital Kathmandu. The death toll has risen above 3,600 and is expected to increase further, with 5.3 million people living in areas hit by severe tremors.
Aftershocks have been felt and remote villages are still to be reached after being cut-off by landslides and the loss of communications.
The First Minister has announced a £250,000 Scottish Government donation.
Neil Mathers, Chair of the DEC Nepal Earthquake Appeal in Scotland, said: “The pictures and stories coming out of Nepal show families ripped apart by this disaster. The sheer scale of this emergency and the effort required to help the people of Nepal recover is only now becoming clear.
“Survivors are in need of medical help, shelter, food and water. In many cases they have lost everything and our members are ready to help them rebuild. We urgently need the financial support of the public in Scotland to fund our emergency response.
“This donation from the Scottish Government is therefore hugely welcome.”
The City of Edinburgh Council is a partner of the Edinburgh Disaster Response Committee which is asking residents to help survivors during the aftermath of the disaster. A fund has opened with the Edinburgh-based humanitarian organisation Mercy Corps for urgent donations.
To pause to reflect on the devastation, the Lord Provost will lead a candlelight vigil which will be open for all residents to attend. The candle lighting will take place at 4pm on Saturday 2 May at The City Chambers.
Tonight is the last evening of the Council’s interactive light installation in St Andrew Square with the Edinburgh International Science Festival. In a display of support for Nepal, Twitter users will be asked to turn the Melville Monument red which is the shade of the Nepalese flag and the Mercy Corps Earthquake Appeal.
The Lord Provost Donald Wilson plans to lodge an emergency motion at Thursday’s meeting of the Full Council to call on support of the appeal. He said: “Edinburgh residents are known for their generosity of spirit and together we can make a difference to people in Nepal by providing urgent donations. Even a gesture of solidarity like the red lighting of St Andrew Square or a candle at Edinburgh’s vigil demonstrates support and raises awareness of the appeal. There is no time to lose.”
Edinburgh based international charity Mercy Corps has been working in Nepal since 2006. The humanitarian organisation has launched an emergency response in Nepal following the massive earthquake and their dedicated team of more than 90 people has been working tirelessly to evaluate conditions and deliver emergency supplies to desperate families, whilst dealing with their own tragedies.
Simon O’Connnell, Chief Executive Officer of Mercy Corps Europe, with their headquarters in Edinburgh, said: “Our thoughts are with the people of Nepal and all those in the region experiencing the effects of the quake. Our team has begun distributing urgently needed relief kits to people most affected and we are also working hard to get more supplies to reach the thousands in need.
“On behalf of the Mercy Corps team, we thank the Edinburgh community for your generosity and compassion as we race to help the Nepalese people.”
Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, with about one-third of its citizens living below the poverty line. The country’s dramatic landscape makes it hard to reach remote villages even in the best circumstances. These next days are critical for ensuring the safety and wellbeing of survivors and Mercy Corps is reaching families left homeless who desperately need shelter, food and water.