Scots charity drive for Nepal disaster begins

Launch of the DEC Nepal appeal at the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Launch of the DEC Nepal appeal at the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

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SCOTS ARE being urged to support a fundraising drive to help the thousands of people caught up in the devastating Nepal earthquake.

The 7.8-magnitude quake struck just before midday on Saturday, leaving more than 4,000 dead and more still unaccounted for.

I urge the people of Scotland to support the Disaster Emergency Appeal to help with disaster relief, humanitarian support and longer term recovery and development

Sunita Poddar

It sent tremors through the Kathmandu Valley and set in motion an avalanche which swept the face of Mount Everest.

A number of Scots have been caught up in the disaster and the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) has launched an appeal to send funds and aid to Nepal.

The Scottish Government has made a £250,000 donation to start the fundraising drive which will be used to buy food, water purification tablets, bedding and shelter.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “On behalf of the Scottish Government and the people of Scotland, I would like to send our deepest condolences to everyone affected by the earthquake and offer them our support as they work through this devastating disaster.

“We have been consulting with Scottish organisations over the last few days to keep abreast of developments and responses.

“We stand with the international community and will do what we can to help, which is why we will donate £250,000 to the Disasters Emergency Committee in Scotland’s Nepal Earthquake Appeal.

“The funding will be allocated to Disasters Emergency Committee members in Nepal who will provide immediate support to people affected by the earthquake and in time, will help the people of Nepal rebuild their shattered lives.

“I would urge people across Scotland to donate to the appeal, whatever they can afford, to help people rebuild their homes and their lives.”

The UK Government has pledged to match the first £5 million of public donations to the DEC appeal.

Sunita Poddar, the Honorary Consul of Nepal, based in Glasgow, said people are in need of food and shelter.

“Time is of the essence for the search and rescue operations in Nepal,” Mrs Poddar said.

“The actions of the Government of Nepal and local communities themselves have already saved many lives.

“Teams from UK, India, Pakistan, China and Israel have started work, and more are on their way from the US, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, the European Union and elsewhere.

“I urge the people of Scotland to support the Disaster Emergency Appeal to help with disaster relief, humanitarian support and longer term recovery and development.

“People affected by the earthquake are in need of food, water, emergency shelter and healthcare, with many sleeping in the open in makeshift tents.”

A television appeal fronted by Joanna Lumley will be screened across the UK tonight.

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.”

A team of Gurkha engineers have been sent from the UK to help the relief effort with supplies including more than 1,100 shelter kits and more than 1,700 solar lanterns.

• Anyone who is caught up in the incident or worried about a family member should call the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on +44 (0) 207 008 0000. To donate, call 0370 60 60 900 or visit the website dec.org.uk.

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