More than 4,000 people are now believed to have died in the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal on Saturday, 25 April, and the death toll is rising. Internet firms have created services to help provide relief to the country.
It is believed the death toll from the 7.9-magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal could rise as high as 10,000.
International relief efforts are underway, but disbursement of aid is proving to be very slow and it could be a long time before anything resembling normality ever returns to the Himalayan nation.
Various internet companies like Facebook and Google, which lost one of its own – GoogleX engineer Dan Fredinburg, who was climbing Mount Everest – have launched services to help gather funds and provide support to the stricken region.
Google has launched a Person Finder service in English, Nepali, Hindi and other languages. Those without access to a computer can text ‘search’ to 6040 in Nepal, 91-9773300000 in India and 650-800-3978 in the US.
Google is also offering Google Voice calls to Nepal for one cent a minute, reduced from 19 cents a minute.
At the weekend Facebook activated its Safety Check feature that lets users in the disaster-stricken area tell friends and family that they are safe.
Also, as well as giving US$2m to match donations, users of Facebook will notice a ‘Let’s Support Nepal’ banner at the top of their News Feeds. Users can choose to donate €10, €25, €50, €100 or suggest any amount and 100pc of the donation will go to the International Medical Corps and its work in response to the Nepal earthquake.
Microsoft is providing free Skype calls to landlines and mobile phones in Nepal. The tech giant is also donating US$1m to rescue efforts.
Viber is providing free calls to any phone number within Nepal through its Viber Out service. Users can dial in the number in the Viber keypad with code +977 and select “Viber Out” from the contact page.
Ammado, an Irish-headquartered charity-oriented social network, connects people in 140 countries to 1.6m non-profit organisations worldwide. It has set up a site specifically to help the Red Cross in Nepal as well as Nepalese Diaspora Earthquake Support. Members of its international aid agencies have also launched appeals using the Ammado platform, including Save the Children, CARE international and Oxfam.
Twitter has posted emergency information on the Twitter India account, including maps, to help connect with emergency and aid groups. It has also created the #NepalQuakeRelief hashtag to help group information and efforts.
Mount Everest image via Shutterstock