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By Caitlin Hamilton, Contributing Editor & Science Journalist, Edited By Kelly Calagna, Managing Editor

Many retreat to Nepal for rest and relaxation, to soak up the serenity of its religion and culture, and to experience first hand the beauty of its people, mountains, and climate.

In late 2013 I spent a month in Kathmandu working in a small orphanage on the outskirts of the city. For four weeks I lived alongside my beautiful ‘Magnificent Seven,’ as we laughed, played, and schooled.  Although these children had nothing of material value, they gave me unconditional love, trust, and memories to cherish for a lifetime.

Yet over the past few days, Nepal has been thrown into an anguished panic when it was hit by a force 7.8 earthquake that shattered the very foundations of its capital, Kathmandu.

The last earthquake of this scale to strike Nepal occurred over 80 years ago, in 1934. In a tragic stroke of timing, experts met earlier this month to help prepare the city for its next disaster. James Jackson, head of the earth sciences department at the University of Cambridge, told the Associated Press that: “Physically and geologically what happened is exactly what we thought would happen.”

The breathtaking Himalayan mountain range–which this week claimed the lives of dozens of ill-fated trekkers–was formed over time due to the constant friction caused by sub-continental India pushing upon its neighboring Eurasia. The seismic fault lines lying under Nepal run right though the Kathmandu valley, where the city has lain peacefully for decades, uninterrupted by the constant geological activity happening under its foundation.

Surrounded by the mountains, the city lies in the hollow of the valley, sheltered against the noise of the outside world. Yet in geological talk, this quiet was the calm before the storm.

A large chunk of rock broke away beneath the surface, and the resulting shock wave caused an earthquake to reach hundreds of miles outwards from its epicenter. To date, over 4,000 people have lost their lives to this devastating natural disaster. Ancient buildings, places of worship, and homes have been lost.

My children in the orphanage are safe, but all of their possessions have been destroyed, and they are amongst the tens of thousands who are sleeping out on the street and in fear of their immediate future. As the international community runs to the aid of Nepal, there is no doubt that the aftershock of this event will leave the country shaking for a long time yet.

You Can Help The Children Of Nepal By Donating Here.

This site, crowdrise.com/CelebratingDan, was set up to honor the memory of Google engineer Dan Fredinburg, who was climbing Everest on behalf of OrphanGift in support of two Nepali orphanages when the earthquake hit. All funds will help OrphanGift provide urgent aid for the children effected by the disaster and restoring structural damage.

Photo Credit: Caitlin Hamilton; crowdrise.com/CelebratingDan