IFRC launches emergency appeal after floods and landslides leave thousands homeless across Nepal

Published: 28 August 2014

Kathmandu – August 28,2014. In recent weeks, severe monsoon rains have triggered flooding and landslides across western, central and eastern areas of Nepal, affecting over 200,000 people. Over 100 lives have been lost and more than 34,000 people have been forced from their homes. The extensive humanitarian needs have prompted the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to launch a CHF 2.45 million Swiss Franc (Euros 2.0 million, USD 2.7 million) international appeal that aims to help 50,000 people to rebuild their lives.

The Nepal Red Cross has been on the ground responding since the rains began and has already reached thousands of people with shelter, food and clean water, but more help is needed.   

“We are seeing multiple emergencies across the country - the rains have triggered landslides in the hills, whilst we are also seeing widespread flooding in the lower lying areas,” explains Dev Ratna Dhakhwa, secretary general of the Nepal Red Cross Society. “This has led to appalling conditions. Tens of thousands of people have lost their homes, whilst thousands more cannot get clean water and do not have enough food. We are working to respond to all these needs, but we need international help to meet them.”    

Having already distributed thousands of relief kits, including tarpaulins, blankets and kitchen utensils – an attempt to replace what has been lost with what is vital to survive – the Red Cross is seeking to expand its reach to help those most in need over the coming months nine months. The focus is on the seven worst affected districts of Banke, Bardiya, Dang, Kailali, Salyan, Siraha and Surkhet in the south west, and Sindhuplachok in the north of the country. 

As well as providing relief items, almost 4,000 families will receive materials to help them make repairs to their homes. On top of the initial destruction caused by the landslides and floods, health officials are now worried about the threat of waterborne diseases as sewage mixes with flood waters and contaminates drinking water sources.  The Red Cross will build hundreds of emergency toilets and rehabilitate damaged hand pumps to ensure that communities have access to clean water and adequate sanitation. Thousands of people will also be targeted with hygiene awareness activities to ward off the threat of disease. 

“At the moment this is a neglected disaster that has fallen in the shadows of other international crises”, says Jagan Chapagain, director of the IFRC’s Asia Pacific office. “There is at least a month before the end of the monsoon and if we see more heavy rains and flooding it will be hard to find enough relief supplies locally to meet the humanitarian needs on the ground”.

For further information and to set up interviews contact;

In Nepal

Dibya Raj Poudel, senior communications officer, Nepal Red Cross Society

Tel: +977 14285089  Email: dibyarp@gmail.com

Mark South, communications delegate, British Red Cross

Tel:  (+977) 9813102044 Email: msouth@redcross.org.uk 

Twitter  @78southy

In New Delhi :

Maude Froberg, regional communications delegate, IFRC

Tel : +91 813091 8887 Email: maude.froberg@ifrc.org

In Kuala Lumpur:

Patrick Fuller, communications manager, Asia Pacific

Tel: +60122308451 Email: Patrick.fuller@ifrc.org;  Twitter:@pat_fuller