A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal this past Saturday, causing mass destruction and triggering several large aftershocks. Nepal has reached out for international aid, and even people as far away as Staples High School are willing to contribute to the relief effort.
The death toll, according to CNN, has already exceeded 4,500, with the list of injured and deceased increasing daily. The quake also triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest, which killed at least 17 people.
Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala told Reuters that the death toll could reach 10,000 as a result of the worst earthquake to hit Nepal in 80 years.
In rural Nepal, loss of electricity, destruction of phone lines and blocked roads, have made it too difficult to even communicate the full extent of the destruction, a local told CNN.
“We talked about it in Contemporary World Studies,” Avery Wallace ’15 said. “The biggest issue is the poverty there and how homes in Nepal aren’t structured to be resistant to earthquakes. Now people are scared to go back into their homes in case of aftershocks.”
Even though international relief is underway, the destruction of buildings and roads, lack of resources and overcrowding of hospitals has presented a challenge for organizations such as the Red Cross to provide aid. According to the UN, approximately one million Nepalese children are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.
“The situation in Nepal is truly destitute and heartbreaking, and my heart goes out to all those families affected by this natural disaster,” Angela Yu ’16, co-president of the Staples Save the Children Club, said.
Besides Yu, many Staples students also say they are moved by the disaster and think it deserves more attention here.
“It’s crucial that we learn about these things in school because we live in such a sheltered area, we really have no outside knowledge about what life is like outside of here,” Monique Ostbye ’18 said. “I think we should raise awareness before we try to raise donations.”
Local efforts to raise both money and awareness have already begun.
“As an organization, Save the Children has had a philanthropic presence in Nepal in the past, having been in the country for almost 40 years. In response to the earthquake, the organization has set an international goal of $50 million worth of fundraising for their Nepal Children’s Relief Fund, hoping to meet the needs of the one million most impacted people,” Georgia Fox ’16, the other co-president of the Staples Save the Children Club, explained.
Fox, like others, says she believes spreading awareness about the situation in Nepal is the most important thing Staples students can do in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake.
“While many nonprofits are still in the early stages of relief efforts, the best thing to do is remain informed about the earthquake,” Fox said. “When disasters like this happen, it’s important to look and figure out what we can do better next time and hopefully save lives in the event that something like this occurs again.”