A massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck close to Nepal’s capital Kathmandu on 25 Apr 2015, toppling office blocks, temples, towers and killing thousands of people. More than two dozen people were also reported killed in neighbouring India, China and Bangladesh.

As of 29 Apr, the Government of Nepal reported 5,006 deaths and 10,194 injured people. It is estimated that 2.8 million people have been displaced, as over 70,000 are believed to be destroyed and another 530,000 homes damaged across the 39 affected districts.

The WSM partners in Nepal, NTUC and GEFONT, two trade unions with a combined membership of over 700.000 people, are currently focusing on helping out. Bishnu Rimal from GEFONT spoke in Equal Times on the situation and priorities. GEFONT also launched an appeal for solidarity.

WSM has expressed their deep sympathies and offers to support them through their existing solidarity funds, which will be used to assist members, by paying for medical bills and reconstruction of houses from members. The appeal to the Belgian public and members can be found here in French and here in Dutch. I’ve also been trying to relay realities on the field through Belgian media, emphasizing how the first and most important help is achieved by the solidarity of Nepalis here, in all kinds of ways and from all strays of life, rather than the international support, which takes time to mobilize and arrive. Communication remains extremely difficult, so it is hard to update and share specific information during these confusing times. The less fortunate focus on surviving and rebuilding, the more fortunate on finding ways to help out…

Of course, this tragic event will also affect the WSM programme. The WSM meeting of all Asia partners, which had already been postponed once because of the Turkish Airlines crash which blocked the Kathmandu airport for several days, will now again be postponed till September. A delegation from ACV-CSC and WSM will still come 10th of May however to meet with the partner leaders and asses the situation and how best to help.

For updates on the personal experiences and efforts of helping out, as I am based in Kathmandu as the WSM Asia Coordinator, you can read my personal blog here. 

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