The death toll following a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hitting scant miles from Nepal's capital of Kathmandu has soared past 3,700, and is expected to grow, as rescue workers are still trying to reach remote mountain villages in the region.
Saturday's quake was the worst to hit the South Asian nation in more than 80 years. It was strong enough to be felt all across parts of India, Bangladesh, China's region of Tibet and Pakistan.
As people continue to search for their loved ones and belongings, thoughts are turning to how to help those who have been affected by the disaster, as shelter, fuel, food, medicine and workers are all in short supply in the region now.
Several Canadian charities have taken action to help support the recovery effort.
Here are Canadian charities where you can donate to help support the relief effort:
- Donate to the Canadian Red Cross' Nepal Region Earthquake Fund.
- CARE teams are on the ground in earthquake-affected areas in Nepal and the organization says it is currently assessing the situation to determine immediate, life-saving needs.
- UNICEF is accepting donations to directly assist the children affected by the 7.8 magnitude quake.
- Save the Children is directing donations to provide emergency relief for children in Nepal.
- Humanitarian Coalition is an umbrella group collecting funds for several Canadian aid groups including Oxfam, CARE, Save the Children and Plan Canada.
- World Vision is working to distribute shelter and non-food items, and establishing three child-friendly spaces where children will be protected and also have access to education, water and hygiene.
- Doctors Without Borders is sending 8 teams to assist in Nepal, including a surgical team headed to Kathmandu.
- WaterAid Canada is a group that has worked extensively in Nepal for the last 20 years, and is working to provide water and sanitation assistance to affected communities.
The Canadian government announced on Apr. 27 that it would be matching all eligible contributions made by Canadians to the Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund until May 25, effective retroactively to Apr. 25 when donations first started being made. In the past, an eligible donation has been a monetary donation made to a registered Canadian charity receiving donations designated for a specific relief effort, and made in the designated donation period.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a statement on Saturday offering condolences to the people of Nepal and northern India, and to the Canadians who have been affected by the disaster.
"Our officials in the region are working with Nepalese and Indian authorities to ensure that any Canadians affected by the earthquake are safe and accounted for. In cooperation with international partners, they are also assessing the needs of the affected populations to determine how Canada may most effectively assist with the disaster if asked to help."
He advised friends and relatives who are concerned about loved ones in the area to contact Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada’s 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre by calling 1-800-387-3124 (toll-free) or 613-996-8885 (collect calls are accepted) or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Canada will be sending its Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART), and has already deployed an advance team to conduct urban search and rescue and provide emergency medical care. Ottawa also announced on Saturday it would be contributing $5 million to relief efforts.
(With files from The Canadian Press and Yahoo Canada News)