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Baltimore groups providing aid to Nepal quake victims, Monkton man at Everest

Baltimore-based Lutheran World Relief says it is gearing up to provide aid to help those affected by Saturday's massive earthquake in Nepal.

The 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck about 50 miles northwest of Kathmandu, Nepal, at 11:41 a.m. local time Saturday, causing significant damage and killing thousands.

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Nepal was hit by a series of aftershocks Sunday. The government of Nepal has declared a state of emergency and is requesting humanitarian assistance.

The earthquake set off an avalanche near Mount Everest that left at least 18 people dead and dozens more injured. Overall, the quake killed more than 2,500 people.

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"This is still a scary situation," said Narayan Gyawali, a member of Lutheran World Relief's local staff in Nepal. "Phone and Internet are not working properly. Thousands are injured, and there are huge physical damages."

The organization says it is working in coordination with the Nepali District Disaster Relief Committee, the local government agency responsible for disaster response. The organization asks those who wish to donate to go to lwr.org/nepalearthquakehttp://www.lwr.org/nepalearthquake, call 1-800-597-5972, or mail a check to Lutheran World Relief, PO Box 17061, Baltimore 21297-1061.

Lutheran World Relief provides aid to small farmers and people experiencing poverty in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Officials at the Baltimore-based Catholic Relief Services say they are also responding and have committed resources to relief efforts. In a news release, officials said CRS has made an initial commitment of $725,000 toward relief efforts in Nepal and surrounding countries, and emergency specialists are on the way to Kathmandu, Nepal's capital.

For Catholic Relief Services, go to crs.org/donate, call 877-435-7277, or mail to Catholic Relief Services, P.O. Box 17090, Baltimore 21297-0303.

Meanwhile, the founder of a local nonprofit, 6 Summits Challenge, is currently at the base camp of Everest.

Nick Cienski and a team of climbers was at the camp as the avalanche struck, according to the 6 Summits Challenge, an organization that raises awareness about human trafficking.

The climbing team reported that Cienski, a Monkton resident who works for Under Armour, and the others had planned to begin climbing the first of six mountains when the avalanche hit.

"We are all OK, thanks for your thoughts and prayers over the past 24 hours," the group wrote on Facebook. "PLEASE-send your prayers to everyone in Nepal. Nick and the team are doing whatever they can to help on site."

Cienski has been able to make some calls and emails from the mountain, a spokesman for 6 Summits said.

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