By Nichola Jones, IFRC
The Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Elhadj As Sy, has launched a renewed appeal to support the on-going emergency operation in Nepal in aftermath of the country’s two major earthquakes.
Thousands more homes were damaged following Tuesday’s 7.3 magnitude tremor which also killed over 100 people, two weeks after 25 April catastrophic quake which affected more than six million people and destroyed hundreds of thousands of buildings.
The IFRC has raised 33 million Swiss Francs in recent weeks but has expanded its appeal to raise a total of 85 million Swiss Francs to provide support to 700,000 people over the next two years.
Speaking from Nepal,Sy said: “Providing desperately needed shelter, healthcare, water and sanitation are our main priorities. Our donors have been extremely generous so far but with even greater needs on the ground, we must do more and we are looking at all of this through the lens of long term recovery.”
During his visit to the country , the Secretary General held talks with Nepal’s Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and Foreign Minister, Mahendra B. Pandey, to discuss the Red Cross earthquake operation. He said the meeting was very production. “The Prime Minister commended the Nepal Red Cross Society on its swift response to the disaster. He was keen to learn about any bottlenecks and assured us of his government’s desire to facilitate our operation.”
Sy also visited the town of Bhaktapur in Kathmandu Valley, which suffered severe damage during the earthquake and joined Nepal Red Cross Society volunteers distributing relief items to the nearby village of Pikhel.
Paying tribute to the work of thousands of volunteers who have been on the ground treating wounded, distributing relief supplies, working in water and sanitation and supporting those traumatised by the disaster, he said: “I can’t emphasise enough the value of our volunteers. Their spirit, commitment, generosity and maturity in the midst of this disaster is an inspiration, especially as most of them are earthquake survivors themselves.”
Since the 25 April earthquake, Red Cross teams have focused on providing survivors with emergency medical assistance, together with food and non-food relief and emergency shelter. More than 221,000 people are now sheltering under tents or tarpaulins provided by the Red Cross.
“Our teams on the ground in Dolakha and Sindhupalchok districts are reporting extensive destruction to homes caused by the second earthquake,” said Dev Ratna Dhakhwa, Secretary General of the Nepal Red Cross Society. “The effects have also been felt in the Kathmandu Valley. Just as people felt that it was safe to return to their homes, they are now back to spending their nights camped out in the open. This has driven up the demand for emergency shelter materials.”
The IFRC appeal covers a number of areas including emergency shelter and support for rebuilding homes; food and non-food relief; cash distributions; livelihoods support; clean water and improved sanitation; basic healthcare services and psychosocial support.