Red Cross launches Nepal earthquake appeal

The Cayman Islands Red Cross is appealing to the public to contribute to its fundraising efforts to provide aid to earthquake-devastated Nepal. 

The tiny Himalayan kingdom was struck by two strong earthquakes over a two-week period. 

“The devastation caused by the April 25th earthquake was extensive, and to have a second earthquake of nearly equal magnitude a mere two weeks later is unthinkable,” said Cayman Islands Red Cross Director Jondo Obi.  

“The Nepalese Red Cross has been receiving assistance – financial as well as manpower support – from the International Federation of the Red Cross, as well as key national societies such as the British Red Cross since the first earthquake struck. The Red Cross Movement is committed to assisting the people of Nepal, and this second quake has only strengthened our resolve to continue to do so,” she added. 

The death toll from the first quake is more than 8,000. More than 17,000 were confirmed injured and approximately 370 reported missing prior to the second earthquake. The United Nations estimates that as many as 8 million people have been affected by the first earthquake, with 2.8 million Nepalese having been displaced.  

Ms. Obi said the Cayman Islands Red Cross launched a formal Nepal Earthquake Appeal which will collect financial contributions throughout May. 

At its annual local fundraising gala on May 9, the Red Cross pledged half of all raffle ticket sales that night to the Nepal appeal.  

“Our annual gala is what keeps our work going here in Cayman,” said Ms. Obi. “We had to cancel this very event last year, so our finances have been tight. However, there is always something that can be done, and so we thought it important to encourage people to continue to support our work, here at home and abroad, and to help us kickstart this appeal.” 

The appeal is a monetary appeal only; the local chapter will not be collecting any goods, clothing or other supplies to send to the affected area.  

“Our community is very generous, so it’s important for us to remind everyone that we will only be asking for financial contributions, and we will not be looking to send any form of goods to Nepal,” said Deputy Director Carolina Ferreira. “As donors, we want to ensure that our donations are relevant and truly needed by the affected community, and as needs change quickly in these situations we know that monetary donations allow those on the ground to ensure that they have the flexibility to meet those needs.  

“While cleaning out our closets or collecting water may give us a feeling of greater involvement, it’s often extremely difficult and costly to coordinate the transport of such items to disaster zones, but more importantly these unsolicited goods often times hinder the operations on the ground because it creates logistical nightmares for those who have to clear those goods, figure out a way to transport [them] and store [them].” 

Money raised by the Cayman Islands Red Cross is sent to a larger international appeal that has been set up by the International Federation of the Red Cross. The money is used to support the work on the ground, most notably the large-scale procurement process to provide key emergency supplies and shelter to thousands of vulnerable people. 

“With assistance from the funds raised by local Red Cross chapters and societies, the Nepalese Red Cross has already been able to distribute nearly 30,000 tarps and family tents, over 100,000 oral hydration salts, over 240,000 water purification tablets and nearly 45,000 bars of soap, among numerous other things,” Ms. Ferreira said.  

Donors may contribute to the Cayman Islands Red Cross Nepal Earthquake Appeal at Butterfield Bank, account number 136035054-00-60, or by going to the CIRC administrative offices on the first floor of Cayman Corporate Centre on Hospital Road. For more information, contact [email protected] or 916-1742. 

Earthquake-damaged houses are seen from a helicopter at Charikot, Nepal, on Thursday. Cayman’s Red Cross is joining International Red Cross efforts to bring aid to the victims. – PHOTO: AP