An appeal to help farming families who lost their livelihoods in the Nepal earthquake has been launched by the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists.
Farmers were among the worst hit by the 7.8-magnitude quake, which left more than 5,000 people dead on Saturday (25 April).
Among those caught up in the tragedy was agricultural journalist Pitambar Sigdel, (pictured), who works for the Annapurna Daily Post, in north central Nepal.
Pitamber was a delegate at the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) 2014 Congress in Aberdeen, last September.
“The situation is terrible,” said Pitamber in an email exhange with Adrian Bell, the British Guild’s representative on the IFAJ executive.
“Many villages simply collapsed and thousands of people are waiting to be rescued,” he added.
The UN estimates that eight million people in 39 districts have been affected – more than a quarter of the Nepali population.
Farming accounts for more than one-third of Nepal’s economy and involves about 70% of the country’s population.
Pitamber said: “Among the dead, some 60% are farmers. Thousands of farmers have no house now and many cattle and agricultural land has been wiped out.
“Those who survived the earthquake have been left with nothing. Me and my family are spending the nights beneath the open sky. This is our fourth night.
“Rescuers are still trying to find many dead bodies from the collapsed areas. In remote areas especially, the situation is critical.”
The appeal by the British Guild aims to raise money and direct it specifically to help the farming community in Nepal.”
Adrian said: “To hear that farmers appear to have borne the brunt of the death toll is worrying news.”
Supporters can donate money by BACS to sort code: 30-80-34 account no. 49237468. Please use the reference: Nepal Fund.