collapsed farmhouse in Nepal© Rex Shutterstock

A UK appeal has been launched to help farming families who have lost their livelihoods in the Nepal earthquake.

Farmers were among the worst hit by the 7.8-magnitude quake, which left at least 5,000 people dead on Saturday (25 April). The UN estimates that eight million people in 39 districts have been affected – more than a quarter of the Nepali population.

Agricultural journalist Pitambar Sigdel, who works for the Annapurna Daily Post, in north central Nepal, said: “The situation is terrible. Many villages simply collapsed and thousands of people are waiting to be rescued.”

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Farming accounts for more than one-third of Nepal’s economy and involves about 70% of the population.

Mr Sigdel said: “Among the dead, some 60% are farmers. Thousands of farmers have no house now and many cattle and agricultural land has been wiped out. Those who survived the earthquake have been left with nothing.

“Me and my family are spending the nights beneath the open sky. This is our fourth night. Rescuers are still trying to find many dead bodies from the collapsed areas. In remote areas especially, the situation is critical.”

The appeal was by the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists. Guild spokesman Adrian Bell said: “To hear that farmers appear to have borne the brunt of the death toll is worrying news. Our aim is to raise money and direct it specifically to aid the farming community in Nepal.”

Readers can donate money by BACS to sort code: 30-80-34 account no. 49237468. Please use the reference: Nepal Fund.