On Saturday 25 April, a devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal. It's the country's worst earthquake in 80 years and has already claimed the lives of 6,000 people. WaterAid has been working in Nepal for over 20 years and thankfully all our local staff are safe, but they and their families have been directly affected by the earthquake. Many homes and other buildings have been badly damaged, and with continuing aftershocks likely, many people are still sleeping out in the open. Electricity and water supplies have been badly affected, as have communications. Map showing the epicentre of the earthquake. Credit: Guardian The epicentre of the quake was the Gorkha district, where a lot of our work is concentrated. The district has been devastated and we will need to rebuild our work. But now it is crucial to ensure that people can access safe water and make sure that human waste is safely disposed to prevent outbreaks of diarrhoea, cholera and typhoid that pose a serious risk to survivors. WaterAid's priority is to offer immediate water and sanitation assistance in the communities where we work. Our regional team is now assessing the situation and teams from Bangladesh, Pakistan and India are on standby to assist. Working with our partner organisations, measures are likely to include the provision of safe water, water purification tablets, emergency sanitation measures and hygiene kits. A man inspects the damage caused by the 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Nepal on Saturday. Photo: EPA/Narendra Shrestha WaterAid is also planning for long-term rebuilding of water and sanitation services. Even before this crisis, nearly half the country’s population – 13 million people – were without a basic, safe toilet and 3.6 million did not have access to clean water. Some 1,900 children under five die in Nepal each year of diarrhoeal illnesses caused by the lack of safe water, toilets and handwashing with soap. It is likely that in the areas hit by the earthquake, many of the life-saving projects giving people access to safe water and sanitation will have to be rebuilt. We will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves. Our thoughts are with the Nepalese people at this time. How can you help? WaterAid has launched an appeal to raise funds to help restore vital water and sanitation services destroyed by the devastating earthquake in Nepal. The fundraising appeal will assist with the recovery of essential water, sanitation and hygiene services in the weeks and months ahead, as well as in the immediate crisis. You can donate directly to the Nepal appeal by calling 1300 858 022.