A magnitude-7.8 earthquake devastated Nepal and the entire Katmandu Valley region, leveling buildings and killing more than 1,400, with the death toll continuing to rise.

Such a powerful quake would result in destruction anywhere, but in a nation as poverty-stricken as Nepal, its citizens are particularly vulnerable.

Aid groups worldwide have mobilized to help.

The British Red Cross was on the ground, helping to rescue and recover those trapped in the rubble.

Save the Children, which has worked in Nepal since 1976, also launched an on-the-ground response.

“Our people on the ground have found the overall situation to have been worse than their worst fears,” said Devendra Tak, who works for Save the Children in India.

“This is indeed one of the largest and possibly most complex earthquake situations in recent times,” Tak said, referring to the densely populated area. “It will be a challenge to maneuver a relief operation amidst this large-scale destruction.”

The humanitarian aid group Oxfam said it was sending a team of technical experts from Britain to provide clean water, sanitation and emergency food supplies.

“Communication is currently very difficult,” said Cecilia Keizer, Oxfam country director in Nepal.”Telephone lines are down and the electricity has been cut off, making charging mobile phones difficult. The water is also cut off.”

Before contributing to an aid group, research its legitimacy. Sites such as CharityNavigator.org, which evaluates charities’ accountability and finances, can help you avoid scams that prey on people’s generosity in the wake of major disasters.


Contributing: Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY