A Bournemouth campaigner has been leading local efforts to raise funds and awareness for the Nepal earthquake appeal.
Alan Mercel-Sanca, who co-founded the UK-Nepal Friendship Society in Bournemouth four years ago, has been co-ordinating with officers on the ground in Kathmandu to channel aid to victims of the disaster. He has also been establishing local fundraising sources.
“We’ve got a relatively small Nepali community here,” he said. “But because the Society originated in Bournemouth, the town is playing a really crucial part in helping victims of the disaster. Local support has been fantastic.”
At least 5,000 people died as a result of the 7.8 magnitude quake, including one British national, it was announced today.
On a national level, the UK-Nepal Friendship Society has been working with the Britain-Nepal Chamber of Commerce to encourage the British-Nepali business community to raise funds for humanitarian relief efforts in the earthquake-stricken country.
The UK-Nepal Friendship Society has also been working with students from Bournemouth and Poole College to produce Nepali-inspired art, which are on display currently at the Pop-Up Shop on Poole High Street.
Mr Mercel-Sanca urged the UK government to ensure that aid is effectively spent.
“Many of my dearest friends are in Nepal,” he said. “Aid has to be directed into reconstruction beyond the immediate aftermath. People don’t want to be left with just some shelter without a livelihood. The government here needs to make sure that recovery aid is put into the hands of people who are enthusiastic and skilled.”
A UK appeal for disaster victims has so far raised more than £19m. Donations to the UK-Nepal Friendship Society can be made via www.uknfs.org.
The charity will also be holding fundraising events on May 23 at Meyrick Hall, with Boscombe Arts.