One week has passed since the 7.9 magnitude earthquake devastated Nepal, and the world’s attention is drifting on toward other international events.
Yet, for the people of Nepal, this is just the beginning. The death toll continues to rise, even as rescue teams keep digging in the rubble for survivors. People continue to live in terror and, often, without help. The most heartbreaking—and most vulnerable—of these are the orphans and other defenseless children.
A million children are in immediate danger
Rinpoche is deeply concerned about the fate of the many children who have lost one or both parents and their homes. It is not uncommon to find human traffickers taking advantage of this kind of chaos. Very often, they sneak into the affected areas and pose as the children’s distant relatives. They then bring the children to India or other countries, forcing them into prostitution, slavery or even taking the children’s organs for sale. Sadly, those children that do escape the traffickers usually end up as beggars and street children.
While these sorts of situations typically emerge three to four weeks after a disaster, they are already occurring in Nepal. More than a million children are expected to be orphaned or have lives severely disrupted by the earthquake. The consequences for these children will be tragic if we do not take immediate action. We urgently need your help in order to improve these children’s chances of survival.
Villagers throughout Nepal lack medical care and other aid
In the past two days, CNN and BBC reported that many villages, across Nepal—both those in the remote, mountainous areas and those within an hour’s drive of Kathmandu—are crushed. Villagers who have been seriously injured have no help, as power has been cut off and roads are impassable. Indeed, many have only been found through recent helicopter searches by the Indian Air Force and the media.
Rinpoche's hometown is in the hardest-hit area
Another piece of sad news: Rinpoche has found out in the last two days that a dozen or more of his relatives lost their lives in this disaster. Rinpoche’s father’s hometown is located in the worst affected area, where nearly 95% of houses have been destroyed, leaving most of the population homeless.
In his letter issued the day after the earthquake on April 26, Rinpoche expressed very clearly his worries about the Nepali people and children in remote areas of the country. As reports continue to come in, the damage caused by the earthquake is shown to be much more severe than initially estimated—and the figures only grow worse, the more we know.
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