Update – Response to Nepal Earthquake
U P D A T E – RESPONSE TO NEPAL EARTHQUAKE
Following the devastating earthquake in Nepal, over 5,000 people have died and over 7,000 have been injured. The number of casualties is still expected to increase significantly as search and rescue operations continue. The earthquake, the worst to have hit in 81 years, measured 7.9 on the Richter Scale and struck the Kathmandu Valley at 6am on 25 April. More than 70 aftershocks have been felt and are still continuing, with further damage still a threat. The World Health Organisation estimate that 5 million people have been affected and 1.8 million displaced.
The Jersey Overseas Aid Commission set aside £90,000 in emergency aid for this disaster and has now allocated £30,000 to each of the following agencies in support of their response to this emergency:
The British Red Cross (BRC) has been working with Nepal Red Crescent Society (NRCS) since 1996 and most recently on a three year earthquake preparedness programme. Together with NRCS they have been helping communities prepare for what to do in the immediate aftermath of earthquakes. Aid supplies have been prepositioned in warehouses. An emergency blood bank, able to operate without mains power, was just opened and is supporting the health services in this response. In addition to existing BRC staff on the ground, additional BRC staff have been deployed to support the response in Nepal through communications, coordination between actors and logistics. BRC will be providing household kits, hygiene kits, jerry cans, kitchen sets, medium-thermal blankets, mosquito nets, tarpaulins, warehouse tents and shelter toolkits.
“The impact of this powerful earthquake has been devastating. People are now sleeping out in the open, too scared to return home while the aftershocks go on. Some have no home to return to. Search and rescue efforts are continuing, but some roads, especially in areas near the epicentre, have been damaged or blocked by landslides or rubble. We are extremely worried about these communities.”
Alexander Matheou, British Red Cross Director of Programmes
Oxfam has been working in Nepal for over 30 years, ensuring that people are better prepared for disasters. 45% of its programme work in Nepal was Disaster Risk Reduction which is a systemic approach to identifying, assessing and reducing the risks of disaster. Oxfam had contingency emergency equipment based in Kathmandu and has set up seismic resistant water supplies in preparation for an earthquake. This has been invaluable for responding to the current crisis. Oxfam’s contingency planning aims to reach tens of thousands of people. Oxfam’s team in Nepal is based in Kathmandu and, whilst all are safe and accounted for, many have been personally affected. Nevertheless they are doing everything they can to make a difference, working around the clock and refusing to rest until people are safe. It is widely acknowledged that Oxfam is the leading humanitarian agency on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene and funding from Jersey will be supporting this together with the provision of emergency food supplies.
“Oxfam has invested a lot of time, effort and resources over the years in working with partner groups in Nepal on what we call “disaster risk reduction” programs. All of this work that we have done together will be severely tested over the coming days and weeks and months. I know many of these groups as knowledgeable, networked and committed from having working alongside them.‟
Shaheen Chughtai, Oxfam Deputy Head of Humanitarian Policy.
Save the Children (SCF) has been working in Nepal since 1976, and has been responding to natural disasters like these for over 90 years. Their experienced teams are doing whatever it takes to reach those affected to provide them with desperately-needed assistance. Initially SCF plan to help families with shelter support such as tarpaulins, rope and essential household items. SCF also plan to help families stay clean and healthy in such difficult conditions, by supplying hygiene kits and jerry cans for storing and transporting clean water.
“The response from the People of Jersey has been truly amazing. The Jersey Overseas Aid Commission has received many telephone calls from the public offering their support to those who have been affected by the earthquake in Nepal, it has been quite overwhelming. The Commission is receiving regular updates from the agencies with who we work and also has been in discussions with the Jersey Branch of the Ghurka Welfare Trust. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all Islanders who are responding to this call for help in such a generous way. The Commission is still able to have direct contact with the communities it has worked with and has assisted the families of the Islanders who were caught up in the disaster. Due to the Commissions structure we are able to respond very quickly to emergencies”
Deputy Carolyn Labey, Chairman
“The Jersey Overseas Aid Commission agreed to support applications submitted by British Red Cross, Oxfam and Save the Children as all these agencies were already present and actively working with communities in Nepal. By providing funding to these designated agencies the Commission is able to maintain contact as to exactly how money from Jersey will be allocated and ultimately will receive reports back on how successful each emergency response was implemented.”
Kathryn Filipponi, Executive Officer
1st May 2015