Relief agencies are rushing to Kathmandu, Nepal in the wake of a devastating magnitude 7.8 earthquake and damaging aftershocks that slammed the country’s capital two days ago.
Officials report that the latest death toll is 3,733, with at least 7,002 injured; relief agencies have largely reached Kathmandu, but little is known about the devastation in more rural areas outside the capital and supplies are badly needed. On Sunday afternoon, the initial approximate cost for support from the Department of Defense was $700,000.
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“We do not yet know the scope of damage, but no doubt this is the most deadly and devastating earthquake since the 1934 tremor, which devastated Nepal and Bihar,” Jagan Chapagain, the IFRC’s Director for Asia Pacific said in a release. “People will need considerable support including food, water, medical care and emergency shelter.”
Oxfam workers are already on the ground working to launch an emergency response team with a focus on clean water, sanitation, and emergency food distribution.
Doctors Without Borders
Doctors Without Borders – Medicins Sans Frontieres – is sending eight medical teams and supplies to help victims. They will establish a surgical unit in Kathmandu, as well as mobile medical agencies in more rural areas. The group requests unrestricted funds (that may fund the Nepal teams or may go towards other humanitarian missions.)
Save The Children
The group is already on the ground working to aid families in securing housing, clean water, and emergency supplies. They also hope to provide psychological support for children and families affected by the natural disaster.
“We are particularly concerned by the situation in some of the most affected districts outside of the Kathmandu Valley. Information coming from these districts is still limited. We are sending assessment teams to these areas” Roger Hodgson, Deputy Country Director for Save the Children in Nepal said in a release. The team has some emergency kits and is aiming to begin distribution as soon as possible.
The group said in a Sunday statement that nearly 1 million children are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. “This crisis leaves children particularly vulnerable - limited access to safe water and sanitation will put children at great risk from waterborne diseases, while some children may have become separated from their families,” the statement read.
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat has worked in Nepal for 18 years helping families in need of decent housing. The organization said Sunday that “disaster response teams are assessing the situation and coordinating response operations with local government agencies and disaster relief partners.” In addition, “Habitat will assemble and distribute emergency shelter kits to affected families, with an initial target of 20,000 kits.”