Red Cross calls for greater urgency in relief efforts for Nepal earthquake survivors

Published: 30 April 2015

April 30, 2015 – Kathmandu / Geneva  – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is extremely concerned about the welfare of hundreds of thousands of people affected by the earthquake that struck Nepal on 25 April.

In many areas outside the Kathmandu Valley, the condition of many people remains unknown. Six Red Cross assessment teams are reporting that some towns and villages in the worst-affected districts close to the epicentre have suffered almost total devastation. Local residents are in a desperate situation.

“One of our teams that returned from Chautara in Sindupalchowk district reported that 90 per cent of the homes are destroyed. The hospital has collapsed, and people are digging through the rubble with their hands in the hope that they might find family members who are still alive,” said Jagan Chapagain,  Director of Asia Pacific with the IFRC. “We can expect the situation to be the same if not worse in many other places where aid has not yet been delivered.”

There are estimates that up to 40,000 homes in Sindupalchowk alone have been destroyed.

With so many families in need, the Nepal Red Cross Society has almost exhausted its relief stocks which were sufficient for 19,000 families. Every day, Red Cross volunteers have been distributing tarpaulins in affected areas, to shelter thousands of people who remain too afraid to return home because of aftershocks and damage to their homes.

The priority now is to move relief efforts to more remote areas.

“We know what the needs are, and Nepal Red Cross volunteers are ready in every district to distribute relief. The challenge now is bringing sufficient quantities into the country,” explained Mr Chapagain.

The amount of emergency aid needed for such a large-scale disaster outstrips the capacity of Kathmandu’s small international airport, which is receiving an extremely high volume of aid flights now coming into Nepal.

On Friday, 1 May, the first two planes carrying a limited number of goods from the IFRC are expected to land. They have additional stocks to serve 1,000 people and a 60-bed rapid deployment emergency hospital. Yet more is clearly needed.

Meanwhile, IFRC teams on the ground remain focused on reaching people with emergency shelter, together with blankets, cooking sets, water containers and other basic household items.

The Red Cross is also addressing curative and preventive health needs of communities by setting up basic health care units – designed for 30,000 people for four months - in areas where  health facilities have collapsed.

“Many people are coming to Nepal Red Cross health posts with untreated wounds and our health teams are seeing an increase in cases of flu and respiratory problems, particularly amongst the young and elderly,” said Mr Chapagain. “Another priority is to set up water supply points and improve sanitation in areas where there a lot of displaced people camped out in the open. We need to stem the risk of disease where families have no regular access to clean water.”

 

For further information, please contact:

In Kathmandu

 

Patrick Fuller, IFRC Asia Pacific communication manager

Tel +977 980391 +60122308451 / Patrick.fuller@ifrc.org Twitter: @pat_fuller and @IFRCAsiapacific

 

Nichola Jones, IFRC communications delegate

Tel +977 9803914943 +447793167032 / Twitter @nicjones81

 

In New Delhi

Maude Froberg, IFRC regional communication manager

Tel +918130918887  / maude.froberg@ifrc.org  Twitter: @maudefroberg

 

In Kuala Lumpur

Kate Roux, IFRC regional communication manager

Tel: +66 81 376 5107 / Katherine.roux@ifrc.org Twitter @katherineroux

 

In Geneva

Benoit Carpentier, IFRC external communications

 +41792132413  Email: benoit.carpentier@ifrc.org Twitter: @BenoistC

Follow @Federation and @IFRCAsiapacific for updates on the Nepal earthquake response and reference the hastag #NepalQuake

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