The extent of the devastation caused by the massive earthquake in Nepal earlier this week is still emerging. Over 5,000 people are known to have died in the disaster, and countless more have suffered injuries or lost their homes and belongings.
The international aid effort is continuing to ramp up, and many companies around the world have committed money and resources to help in the continuing rescue and recovery effort. Google, for example, has pledged up to $1.25 million, and its Person Finder tool has already helped thousands of families to locate their loved ones in the region.
Microsoft has stepped up too, and in a post on its Disaster Response blog, the company announced that it is "providing a minimum of $1 million in donations of cash, technology and services" to assist with the relief effort. Some of the money has already been donated to NetHope, a group of over forty non-governmental organizations that helps to improve IT infrastructure for aid workers in parts of the world affected by disaster and economic hardship.
In order to make it easier for people to locate and stay in touch with family and friends in the region who may have been affected by the earthquake, Microsoft is also "making all Skype calls to landlines and mobiles in and out of Nepal free of charge, with immediate effect."
Microsoft is also encouraging its employees to donate to the relief effort through its internal 'Giving' website, and will match all donations from its staff to organizations including American Red Cross, Direct Relief, International Medical Corps, Mercy Corps and World Vision.
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