30 Apr 2015

'Gobsmacked' by effort to help Nepal

8:15 am on 30 April 2015

The speed of donations pouring in to help those in earthquake-stricken Nepal has left some charities "gobsmacked".

Members of the Nepal Red Cross distribute tarpaulins to displaced residents in Kathmandu on 27 April.

Members of the Nepal Red Cross distribute tarpaulins to displaced residents in Kathmandu. Photo: PALANI MOHAN / IFRC / AFP

Some of them say it's the quickest, and one of the most generous, responses to an international disaster they've seen.

When news of the earthquake first broke, it took just hours for fundraising efforts to get underway.

The New Zealand Red Cross swiftly set up an emergency response fund on its website, which went live at 3pm on Sunday.

By 6pm, $45,000 had been donated, with that figure swelling to $200,000 by the next morning.

New Zealand Red Cross operations manager Andrew McKie said he was astounded by how New Zealanders kept on giving.

"It's quite moving to see, especially after they donated so much to the Red Cross after Tropical Cyclone Pam," he said.

"The cyclone in the Pacific got over $1.3 million in public donations and people seem to be even more generous to the situation in Nepal at the moment."

Mr McKie expects donations to keep pouring in, saying he wouldn't be surprised if the amount donated reached the millions.

The Red Cross fund is one of many set up to help those in Nepal.

So far, 174 fundraising pages have been created on the website Givealittle, which is owned by The Spark Foundation.

The most raised for the cause in a single day so far was $152,000, which was raised on Tuesday.

Spark Foundation general manager Lynne Le Gros said she was "gobsmacked and amazed" by how quickly money was raised.

"We're still getting all of our numbers together but what it looks like is it being the quickest response to an international disaster and one of the most generous in terms of the actual amount raised."

Ms Le Gros said $207,000 has been raised on Givealittle for the cause so far.

Nepalese societies across the country have also been overwhelmed with the response they've been getting when collecting donations.

Narad Kunwar has been collecting money in several Wellington supermarkets with a group of other Nepalese New Zealanders to help those in their home country.

Mr Kunwar said in just a few hours the group collected $4000.

"Those who had money donated it and some people who didn't have the cash when they come outside the shopping centre, withdrew the money from the ATM or shop.

"They were just so sympathetic, so kind and generous. It was amazing to see."

The New Zealand Government has also upped its efforts to help Nepal, announcing a further contribution of $1 million.

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