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In the Wake of Tragedy:
Brands Come Together to Aid Nepal Earthquake Relief Effort

The 7.8 magnitude Nepal earthquake that hit on April 25th has yielded a death toll of over 6,000, with thousands still reported missing. Villages throughout the country have been destroyed as well as a large portion of the capital Kathmandu. The Guardian reports that 90 percent of clinics and schools in some districts have become completely unusable.

“There are still injured there who have not been treated. Whole villages are flattened. They need tents very badly,” Kempo Chimed Tsering, a local religious leader, told the Guardian.

The Nepali government is reaching out for help to shoulder the predicted $2 billion recovery effort, and several brands have stepped up to the plate.

Microsoft has committed a minimum of $1 million in donations of cash, technology and services to the rescue and recovery effort in Nepal, including an immediate monetary donation to NetHope – a consortium of 40+ international NGOs that specialize in improving IT connectivity among humanitarian organizations in developing countries and areas affected by disaster – to support their deployment and response operations.

“In addition, we want to help provide people with alternative methods of communication to reach friends and family in the region during this difficult time and therefore, we are making all Skype calls to landlines and mobiles in and out of Nepal free of charge, with immediate effect,” read the statement.

Microsoft is also matching all donations made by employees to first-responder organizations in the region, including the American Red Cross, Direct Relief, International Medical Corps, Mercy Corps and World Vision****.

Meanwhile, United Airlines announced on Wednesday that in just one day, over 7,800 customers and employees donated more than $1 million to the airline's disaster relief partners the American Red Cross, AmeriCares, Airlink and Operation USA to aid Nepal. United has provided a $50,000 match donation to these partner organizations.

"This immediate outpouring of support is remarkable and shows a great deal of compassion from our customers and employees," said Mark Anderson, SVP of corporate and government affairs at United. "These generous donations will go a long way in helping those impacted by the devastating earthquake in Nepal."

MileagePlus members with accrued miles can also donate their miles to a charity through United's Charity Miles program, to help send relief personnel and volunteers to assist in the affected region. Through these programs, MileagePlus members can donate a minimum of 500 miles to any of the designated groups involved in the relief effort.

AT&T also chimed in, announcing it would not charge customers for text messages or international long distance usage from AT&T phones from the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to Nepal from April 25 to May 16.

“Our thoughts are with those impacted by this devastating tragedy," said Nicole Anderson, Executive Director of Philanthropy at AT&T. "We want our customers to be able to reach their loved ones in Nepal as easily as possible.”

Unfortunately, the earthquake has cut off most of the country from electricity and phone lines. In response, WakaWaka, a solar product developer and Europe’s “most impactful” B-Corp, is donating 5,600 of its solar lamps and solar phone chargers to keep survivors safe at night and to help aid workers stay connected. Users have the option to simply donate devices to the relief effort or participate in a Buy 1 Give 1, in which customers purchase one device and a second is immediately sent to Nepal.

Much more support is needed as the nation reels from aftershocks and a climbing death toll. The Guardian has assembled a comprehensive list of relief organizations already in place and in dire need of support. Take action and donate today.

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