By Nita Bhalla
NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Soccer idol Cristiano Ronaldo has actively campaigned to help raise funds for victims of the Nepal earthquakes but he has not donated $8 million himself as widely reported, the charity Save the Children said on Thursday.
The 30-year-old Real Madrid striker appealed to his 100 million-plus Facebook followers to donate to the charity after the first of two quakes struck, killing more than 8,000 people.
He was reported to have given 7 million euros ($7.8 million) of his own money.
But the charity said the report, which originated in the French magazine So Foot on May 7 and has since been published widely by other international media, was false.
"The global ambassador for Save the Children, Cristiano Ronaldo, has used his voice and global visibility to raise awareness of the problems that the most vulnerable children around the world, including those affected by the earthquake in Nepal, face," said a statement from the charity.
"The latest information on the donation of Cristiano Ronaldo to the emergency response of Save the Children in Nepal is false."
Ronaldo, who is Portuguese, and his representatives were not immediately available for comment by phone or by email.
The Himalayan nation is still reeling from last month's 7.8 magnitude earthquake, which has disrupted the lives of around eight million people - almost a third of the population.
Another quake measuring 7.3 magnitude struck on Tuesday, worsening the situation and further hampering efforts by the government and aid agencies to get aid to survivors who are stranded in remote rural regions.
The United Nations has appeal led to foreign donors for $423 million to be able to provide survivors with basic relief such as tents or tarpaulin sheets, dry food rations, safe drinking water and toilets for the next three months.
As of Thursday, the U.N. Financial Tracking System showed that $59.5 million has been raised, only 14 percent of the total funds required.
(This story has been refiled to tweak a typo in the second paragraph)
(Reporting by Nita Bhalla, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith)