Nepal: Red Cross stresses urgent need to deliver aid to remote communities as monsoon season approaches
Kathmandu/ Delhi/ Geneva, 7 May 2015 – Eleven days after Nepal’s devastating earthquake which killed 7,500 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless; distributions of relief and emergency shelter supplies need to scale up to meet the needs of survivors living in isolated areas, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has warned.
The Red Cross has a presence in all the districts affected by the earthquake and has identified that there are still immense needs that are not being met.
“The monsoon arrives in June and people in remote hilltop villages and mountainous areas are extremely vulnerable. Reaching these communities with emergency shelter materials such as tents and tarpaulins is our number one priority”, says Dev Ratna Dhakwa, Secretary General of the Nepal Red Cross Society. “Our volunteers and staff are trekking into many places and finding several families crammed into one makeshift shelter. It’s vital we reach these communities before the rains render roads impassable and cut off entire communities”.
The IFRC has mobilized a major airlift of relief items from its logistics hub in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with flights arriving almost daily in Kathmandu. Goods will also be trucked overland across the Indian border, but huge logistical challenges remain. Three quarters of the affected population in the worst-hit areas are in districts outside of the Kathmandu Valley where access can be extremely difficult due to poor road infrastructure.
“Shelter is pivotal – we have distributed tents and tarpaulins to shelter 130,000 people and another 30,000 tarpaulins will arrive in the coming week”, explains Martin Faller, head of the IFRC’s earthquake response operation in Nepal. “As we meet emergency shelter needs we are also looking at options to help people build back their homes quickly and safely. Cash distributions will most likely be an important part of the package of support that we will be providing affected families.”
The IFRC’s international humanitarian response to the earthquake has scaled up significantly in recent days. Every day, trucks laden with relief leave Kathmandu destined for the 14 worst affected districts where the Nepal Red Cross is distributing relief. Six Red Cross and Red Crescent emergency response medical units are now operating in the country including a 60-bed field hospital set up by the Norwegian Red Cross in Choutara, Sindhupalchok district.
For further information, please contact:
Patrick Fuller, IFRC Asia Pacific communication manager
Nichola Jones, IFRC communications delegate
Tel: +977 9803914943 +447793167032 / Twitter @nicjones81
In New Delhi
Maude Froberg, IFRC regional communication manager
In Kuala Lumpur
Reeni Amin Chua, IFRC communication Senior Officer
Tel: +41797086273 / Reeni.firstname.lastname@example.org
Benoit Carpentier, IFRC Team leader, public communications