The Red Cross L.A. Region and ABC7 raised more than $78,000 during a 14-hour telethon April 29 for emergency earthquake relief efforts in Nepal.
Red Cross volunteers answered a heavy morning stream of calls that began at 4:30 a.m.
First-time telethon volunteer Josie Tong, Red Cross Santa Monica Bay board member and this year’s Red Tie Gala co-chair, received a handful of pledges at the start of her midday shift and was determined to take as many calls as possible. After a friend of hers toured Kathmandu just a day before the earthquake hit near the capital city, Tong was relieved to discover the friend had made it safely back to Los Angeles as the temblor made ruins out of historic sites -- images captured and forever frozen in time on her camera.
“When you have a disaster like this and people come together, we’re really bonding and doing this for one purpose, and that’s to help the people in Nepal,” said Tong.
Dean Stewart, a 31-year veteran Red Cross volunteer with an extended background in mass care sheltering and first-time telethon volunteer said that donors’ generosity and gratitude made the experience a rewarding one.
“It’s wonderful to hear how receptive the American people in general are toward something like this,” Stewart said. “This is a huge, huge earthquake. Historical. And sometimes it takes that to somehow bring us together, like we should be together, as just fellow human beings on the same journey.”
American Red Cross Commitment to Nepal Relief
Thursday’s telethon happened one day after the national American Red Cross committed an initial $1 million and mobilized eight highly trained disaster specialists to provide on-the-ground humanitarian assistance to support emergency relief, cash transfer programming, information management, recovery planning and IT/telecoms. The American Red Cross is working closely with the Nepal Red Cross and the global Red Cross/Red Crescent societies to coordinate additional support.
Initial disaster response focused on the most immediate needs of food, water and shelter. As of April 28, the Red Cross had about 19,000 non-food relief kits available in Nepal, which includes clothing, kitchen sets, tarpaulins, mosquito nets and personal hygiene items. Total stock levels in the whole of Asia Pacific, including Red Cross logistics facilities in Kuala Lumpur and Dubai, are sufficient to cover 50,000 families. Field assessment teams are currently on scene to obtain a more accurate assessment of the destruction.
Help is still needed at this time. If you’d like to contribute to the Nepal relief operation, you can still visit redcross.org/donate and select the donate option for Nepal Earthquake Relief. You can also call 1-800-REDCROSS or contact your local Red Cross chapter for other donation options. For a text donation option, you can text NEPAL to 90999 on any wireless carrier.
If you have family members in Nepal you have been unable to contact, the Nepal Red Cross Society and the International Committee of the Red Cross are presently responding to the restoring family links need in areas affected by the quake.
Visit http://familylinks.icrc.org/nepal-earthquake/en/Pages/Home.aspx for more information.