As international aid agencies and NGOs gear up to help the victims of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday, claiming more than 3,000 lives, injuring more than 7,000, leaving many unaccounted for and razing entire communities, the Verizon (News - Alert) Foundation is weighing in with contributions of its own. The second largest cellular service provider is waiving all fees for calls and multimedia texts between the U.S. and Nepal from April 25 until May 31 to show its support for customers who may have been affected—either directly or via loved ones in the region—by the devastating natural disaster.
In a bid to encourage its employees to donate money to the affected areas, Verizon will also match all employees’ donations to the American Red Cross and World Vision that meet or exceed $25. The cap on donation matching is set at $1,000. The program starts today and will extend through May 10.
Verizon will also be supporting text-to-donate programs. Current Verizon customers are encouraged to make a $10 donation, which will be added onto the next bill-cycle’s statement, for the American Red Cross or World Vision. Interested Verizon customers may text “NEPAL” to 777444 for World Vision donations, or “REDCROSS” to 9999 for The Red Cross donations.
Shortly after the earthquake, a massive avalanche on Mount Everest left more than one hundred people stranded on the mountain, many who are still awaiting rescue. Rescue efforts are still under way on all fronts, and organizations far and wide are accepting disaster relief donations. They include The Nepal Red Cross Society, The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, ActionAid USA, ChildFund International, International Medical Corps, Real Medicine Foundation, UNICEF and so many more. Search Internet giant Google (News - Alert) is also doing its part in the form of its People Finder Tool, another way to help loved ones search for and connect with one another as rescue operations continue in the region.
Restoration to physical infrastructure may take several years, and search and rescue operations will commence indefinitely. In the meantime, Verizon customers are encouraged to make a donation via text. Likewise, any postpaid (monthly billed) Verizon customer trying to connect with loved ones in the region, or vice versa, is implored to make use of free international calling as needed until the end of May.
"This is one of the most powerful earthquakes to hit Nepal in recent memory, and the need for support and relief is immediate and immense," said Rose Stuckey Kirk, Verizon vice president of global corporate social responsibility and president of the Verizon Foundation. "With operations around the world, Verizon and its employees have a history of running to crises such as this one, and we're committed to helping citizens of Nepal and the neighboring region as they begin to recover and rebuild from this devastating natural disaster."
As the people of Nepal trundle along the broken road to recovery, any push that can be spared will be of help—even if that push has a $10 value, and comes in the form of hitting “send” on a mobile device.