Bay Area's Nepal Youth Foundation prepares to help quake victims

SAUSALITO, Calif. (KGO) -- An aid group based in the Bay Area that has worked in Nepal for the past 25 years is gearing up for a massive campaign to help the earthquake victims. The group's founder is from Sausalito but lives half the year in Nepal. ABC7 News talked to her by phone from Katmandu.

Olga Murray was getting ready for her 90th birthday party when the earthquake hit.

"Oh my God," she said. "Terror. I was in my office and my driver was with me and we both fell to the floor and we were sliding around."

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She says the destruction is almost unimaginable.

"There are millions of people sleeping outside," she said. "Everybody is afraid to go back in the house because of the terrible destruction. You know, all the buildings that have come down. Every open area is filled with people sleeping."

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Murray's own home was not damaged.

"It has been a refuge for a lot of people," she said. "I've had up to 50 people here sleeping out in my garden. Unfortunately it looks like we'll be running out of water pretty soon and that's going to be serious."

Murray is founder of the Nepal Youth Foundation. ABC7 News has reported on their incredible work many times. The group has eliminated child slavery in a large region of Nepal, set up nutrition centers for infants, and rescued thousands of orphans and sent them to school. Most of that is funded by generous Bay Area donors. Now, the organization is preparing to do a lot more.

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"It's going to be decades before they are able to build back," said Murray. "And I would really like people to help."

The organization has such a big network in Nepal that they're already making a difference.

"First we are going to try to help the hospitals, which are totally full," said Murray. "Today we had an urgent request for 200 beds and bedding and we are going to fill it within 10 hours."

The foundation already raises more than $2 million a year. But now they hope to double that now for earthquake relief, expanding some programs and starting new ones.

"There's a 46 percent unemployment rate in this country," she said. "So we want to have a big program to train construction workers in the villages where the worst damage occurred so they can rebuild their own houses."

If you would like to donate to the Nepal Youth Foundation or other aid organizations, click here. And click here for full coverage on the devastating quake.

Written and produced by Jennifer Olney.

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