Uniting World is calling for donations to its Emergency Contingency Fund to help communities devastated by the recent Nepal earthquake.
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake is the worst natural disaster in the South Asian nation in 80 years. At least 3,200 deaths and 6,500 injuries are confirmed so far, with the toll expected to rise.
The Nepalese government has declared a state of emergency as rescuers rush to free people trapped under the rubble. Local and international aid agencies are assessing the situation on the ground and providing immediate humanitarian relief.
The earthquake caused widespread devastation throughout Nepal, from the capital of Kathmandu to the slopes of Mount Everest.
It flattened buildings and destroyed historical monuments such as the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Dharahara Tower.
The earthquake triggered multiple avalanches on Mount Everest, claiming the lives of at least 17 mountaineers.
Large aftershocks continue to shake the country, causing further damage to buildings that are already structurally unsafe.
There are fears that entire villages in the Gorkha district near the epicentre of the quake have been destroyed. Authorities and aid agencies are working to establish communication with communities cut off by the earthquake.
The force of the earthquake reached neighbouring countries, with deaths reported in Tibet, India and Bangladesh.
According to University of Colorado geologist Roger Bilham, the earthquake was so powerful that the city of Kathmandu shifted three metres within 30 seconds.
The country’s capacity to cope with a disaster of such magnitude has been hindered by its extreme poverty, inadequate resources and poor infrastructure.
Despite making steady progress towards addressing poverty, Nepal remains one of the poorest countries in the South Asian region. Approximately a quarter of the 28 million population live under $1.25 per day and more than half live under $2 per day.
Raju Shakya is a member of Victoria’s 15,000-strong Nepalese community. They are planning a candlelight vigil at Federation Square for Tuesday night.
“We need to get together and pray for Nepal. They are still getting more earthquakes, there have been hundreds of them so far,” Mr Shakya told the ABC.
More details about the vigil will be released on the Victorians Stand Together for Nepal Facebook page as it becomes available.
Tens of thousands of Nepalese will be sleeping without shelter tonight. Many cities have lost access to power and water. Hospitals are stretched to their capacities and aid agencies are calling for emergency funds to provide immediate medical and food support.
Uniting World is supporting the ACT Alliance through the Emergency Contingency Fund. Donations from the fund will help provide search and rescue, food, shelter and clean water to survivors.
Click here to make a secure online donation.