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Earthquake strikes Nepal—you can help

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People free a man from the rubble of a destroyed building in Kathmandu after the 7.9 magnitude earthquake. EPA / Narendra Shrestha

Oxfam is preparing an emergency response to help save lives in the aftermath of a massive earthquake.

A devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal this morning, leaving more than a thousand dead. 

The epicenter of the quake was a densely populated area in Gandaki, about 50 miles northwest of the capital city of Kathmandu, where there are reports of massive damage.  Homes and other structures have collapsed, and rescue workers are searching for people trapped in the wreckage. Hospitals have been overwhelmed as they try to cope with the wounded.

“People are gathered in their thousands in open spaces,” says Celilia Keizer, director of Oxfam in Nepal. With phone lines down and electricity cut off, communications are very difficult, she reports, and water supplies have been cut.

Oxfam workers are on the ground in Nepal, preparing to launch an emergency response with a focus on clean water, sanitation, and emergency food distribution. Additional Oxfam teams are ready to fly in from the UK and Thailand.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, more than six million people live in the affected area, which includes a large swathe of northern India and Mount Everest. Reuters reports that an avalanche triggered by the quake has killed 18 people at a base camp on the mountain.  Major aftershocks continue to put communities at risk.

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