Local agencies mobilize support

Following a 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Nepal on Saturday, area organizations have mobilized efforts for immediate aid to more than 3,600 injured. It’s the worst disaster to hit the South Asian country in more than 80 years, Project HOPE reported.

The Millwood-based humanitarian organization announced on Monday plans to provide humanitarian and medical aid to victims of the disaster that also claimed lives in India and China.

With a team already stationed in Nepal, Project HOPE is poised to be an immediate source of aid to the more than 6,500 people injured since the earthquake struck.

The team is working with the local and international disaster response task force in Nepal to seek collaborations for effectively responding to the disaster, Scott Crawford, director of Humanitarian Assistance and Gift-in-Kind at Project HOPE, stated in a Monday news release.

“We are actively reaching out to our corporate partners to source donated medicines and supplies for health facilities overwhelmed by the disaster,” he stated.

Elsewhere in the area, Randolph-Macon Academy in Front Royal announced Monday that its International Day Dinner scheduled for that evening at the school would benefit earthquake victims.

A fundraiser through the school’s National Honor Society, the dinner was planned in support of various charities, said Jacob Dodson, an 18-year-old Front Royal resident and vice president of the National Honor Society.

“We are very active in donating nationally,” he said. But after hearing about the earthquake, he said, “NHS officers came together right after it happened.”

Earlier this year, the National Honor Society raised $300 for the Salvation Army and has donated to a soup kitchen at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Front Royal.

The goal of the dinner was to bring together the community in a representation of 14 different countries that included Nepal, China and India, and about 130 people were expected to attend the event.

Dodson said China, India and Nepal are very well represented by the student body.

“[Those countries] will be very important, very meaningful tonight,” he said.

Food and water shortages are main concerns in the immediate aftermath of the quake, and the situation is particularly grave for those living in remote areas and who are cut off or in difficult-to-access areas, Project HOPE reported.

Nepal has experienced more than 40 aftershocks since the initial earthquake, including a 6.7-magnitude aftershock on Sunday that caused widespread panic and hampered search and rescue efforts near the capital of Kathmandu.

The quake also caused an avalanche on Mount Everest, killing 18 people.

Widespread damage has been reported to buildings in the epicenter of the quake. The government has declared a state of emergency in affected areas.

In 2012, Project HOPE volunteers provided crucial medical care and health education to remote areas of Nepal during HOPE’s fourth humanitarian mission with the U.S. Air Force, PACANGEL.

Contact Project HOPE at http://www.projecthope.org. Contact Randolph-Macon Academy at 540-636-5482 or at http://www.rma.edu.

Contact staff writer Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com