Nepalese earthquake: worst in more than 80 years

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27 April 2015 - “I express our deepest sympathy to the people and Government of Nepal following the 7.9 magnitude earthquake that struck Kathmandu and the surrounding regions,” says Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

According to Nepalese officials, at least 3,617 people have died and more than 6,500 people have been injured, the BBC reports. At least 18 people have been killed in avalanches on Mount Everest.

Thousands of people spent their first night under open skies out of fear of more tremors. Homes and buildings have collapsed and entire areas have been flattened. People need food, water, emergency shelter and healthcare.

In response to the disaster, Nepal’s Government has declared a national emergency, and has appealed to the international community for assistance. The United Nations agencies in Nepal, with their humanitarian partners, continue to support the Government and other partners.

Severe damage to Nepal’s hospitals

While the main hospitals in Kathmandu are still standing and functioning, although overloaded, some damage has been reported to hospitals in Ramechap, Nuwakot, Sindhupalchowk. In Gorkha, damage is very severe but it remains unclear whether hospitals continue to be operational.

"Toward evening, hospitals were trying to accommodate a huge influx of patients, some with amputated limbs, and were running short of supplies like bandages and trauma kits", said Jamie McGoldrick, UN Resident Coordinator in Nepal.

nepal 2To meet the immediate health needs of the earthquake affected people in Nepal, The World Health Organization (WHO) have already handed over four emergency health kits comprising of medicines and medical supplies and US $175 000 as the first tranche of emergency health funds. The WHO emergency kits can meet the needs of 10 000 people for three months and include medicines, disposables and instruments. The kits can also be used for initial supply of primary health care facilities where the normal system of provision has broken down.

Children particularly vulnerable

Limited access to safe water and sanitation make children particularly vulnerable, putting them at great risk of waterborne diseases, while some children may have become separated from their families.

UNICEF is mobilizing staff and emergency supplies to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of children affected by the earthquake, focusing on water and sanitation, nutrition, education and child protection.

UNICEF is also readying two cargo flights with a combined 120 tonnes of humanitarian supplies including medical and hospital supplies, tents and blankets, for urgent airlift to Kathmandu.