May 8th – World Red Cross Day: Nepal Red Cross puts Principles in Action in its earthquake response operation

Press Release

May 8th – World Red Cross Day: Nepal Red Cross puts Principles in Action in its earthquake response operation

May 8, 2015, Kathmandu. Today May 8, is World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day, the birthday of Jean Henry Dunant, founder of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. World Red Cross day, 2015 is being celebrated all over the world with the slogan “Our Principles in Action”. Humanity is the expression of our motivation. Impartiality drives how we serve the most vulnerable, while working in accordance with the Principles of Neutrality and Independence at all times. The Red Cross mission is built on the Principle of Voluntary Service, while Unity and Universality serve to anchor our local action in global solidarity.

Volunteers and staff of the Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS) are applying these Principles as they continue to work around the clock in response to the April 25th earthquake. Tragically, the disaster claimed a number of Red Cross staff and volunteers. Staff member Lal Maya Gurung,43 and volunteers Sanumaiya Kapali, 53 and Sirman Dangol 20, were killed while running a blood donation drive in the  Kastamandap in Durbar Square.

Red Cross workers have been engaged in the response to the earthquake since day one, assisting in search and rescue efforts, providing first aid to the injured and  transporting the wounded to hospitals and  temporary shelters. Now the focus is on providing emergency shelter, emergency relief items together with medical support and water, sanitation and hygiene promotion activities. Restoring family links is another important service being provided by the Red Cross.

NRCS is also preparing its support plan for next six months. These humanitarian services are being implemented in coordination and cooperation with International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement Partners, the Government of Nepal, UN agencies, national and international organizations as well as affected communities themselves.  

An estimated 1.1 million families across 1035 villages and 60 municipalities in 51 districts are affected by the earthquake. The number of casualties from the quake has exceeded 7,000. The number of wounded is over 14,000. NRCS estimated that 500 thousands of households are totally damaged and over 645 thousands of familes are displaced. Reports of human and physical losses continue to rise.

The NRCS has deployed National Disaster Response Team (NDRT) in 14 worst affected districts including Kathmandu valley, Sindhupalchok, Gorkha, Nuwakot, Rasuwa, Kavre, Dhading, Ramechhap, Dolakha, Sindhuli and Makwanpur. More than 6,500 volunteers are working in those areas.

More than 5,600 have been provided with first aid services. As of Thursday, a total of 29,588 tarpaulins and family tents, two thousand non-food relief items and 7345 blankets have been distributed to people in need. Sanitation and Hygiene activities are going side by side with orientation classes, distribution of soap, oral rehydration solution and construction of latrines.

Relief materials are being distributed in outside Kathmandu valley as well. There are high demand relief materials as well as support to over 191 thousands families.  When the earthquake struck the NRCS had stocks of prepositioned relief and shelter items sufficient for 19,000 families. These stocks were rapidly distributed via our district chapters and sub-chapters. Our district chapters are also playing a key role in the cluster system at the district level, providing coordination in sectors such as non-food relief and shelter.

Medical teams and supplies have been arriving from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Now relief flights are arriving on an almost daily basis and the IFRC is looking at bringing in supplies overland from India. The IFRC secretariat and more than 20 Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies are supporting the NRCS operation.

Red Cross has managed to maintain a sufficient stock of blood in its central as well as other blood service units. NRCS thanks all blood donors who have contributed to this reserve. The NRCS is also activating its blood collection systems in branches and sub branches in readiness to mobilize additional blood where needed.

NRCS is committed to transparency and accountability in its operations and maintains accurate records of stocks and their d distributions to beneficiaries which are carried out I accordance with our principles of impartiality, neutrality and independence. The NRCS is extremely concerned about the rumors and allegations circulating regarding misappropriation of relief items, each of which has been investigated and proved to be unfounded.

Due to the wide scope of the damage, the NRCS has yet to reach some areas in both urban and rural areas. NRCS district branches and volunteers have been at forefront of this response, playing a critical role as first responders. They are now undertaking needs assessments in parallel with delivering relief not only on behalf of Red Cross and Red Crescent partners but other agencies.

As a part of International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, NRCS has an independent working modality and network while playing an auxiliary role to the public authorities. NRCS expects full support in its action from a wide range of stakeholders, including the government and the public in order to deliver its humanitarian services quickly and effectively.                                                

For contact: Dibya Raj Poudel,

Head, HV and communication Department, Nepal Red Cross,