LWF reaches rural areas of earthquake-hit Nepal

LWF assessment team talking to people affected by the earthquake in Gorkha district. Photo: LWF/C. Kästner
LWF assessment team talking to people affected by the earthquake in Gorkha district. Photo: LWF/C. Kästner

Over 800 households receive life-saving essentials

(LWI) – The Lutheran World Federation has managed to distribute essential relief items to over 800 households hard-hit by the devastating April 25 earthquake.

Ready-to-eat-food, tarpaulins and blankets have been distributed to 820 households in Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur districts, the worst affected in the Kathmandu valley. The LWF team has formed intervention units for each of the three districts.

Teams have been sent out to assess damage and the need for relief work in the remote villages of Sindhupalchowk, Dahding, Kavra and Gorkha. With more than 3000 people still missing, Sindhupalchowk district has had the highest death toll for the past week, followed by Gorkha district.

The official national death toll has reached 6,200. An estimated 70,000 houses have collapsed and more than 600,000 have been damaged, many to an extent they are no longer fit to live in. Some remote districts are still only accessible by helicopter.

The LWF delivered life-saving aid in close coordination with government and district disaster management bodies, LWF emergency team coordinator Gopal Dahal said. “We have started by working in government-managed camps but as we saw a great need for assistance in self-managed camps, we have also started to cover these camps and the affected population.”

Self-managed camps are run by residents themselves, rather than the government.

Six days after the earthquake, an estimated 900,000 people are still sleeping outside because another, even more devastating earthquake, is rumored to be coming. More than half a million people have fled the city. Many shops and businesses remain closed, including factories producing relief goods, such as tarpaulins.

“There is a shortage of relief items in Nepal, which has affected the humanitarian response,” Dahal adds. “We have now established a communication with our LWF associate program in India and the ACT Alliance India Forum to ensure supplies.”

The LWF Nepal team has expanded its humanitarian capacity. Some 100 local volunteers have been mobilized to join the 40 LWF Nepal staff in Kathmandu in their relief work.

“They have come from everywhere,” Dahal said. “There are university students because classes have been suspended and private business people, whose business is closed. We even have government officials who are supporting us.”

The volunteers are helping in Lalitpur and Bhaktapur camps, as well as in the Kathmandu head office compound, where a workshop has been set up to pack relief goods for distribution. Each package contains 2kg of rice, six packs of ready-to-eat noodles, two packs of biscuits, a tarpaulin and a blanket. The biscuits have been added for the elderly and children, who cannot eat instant food.

Lack of shelter remains the biggest challenge. The need for tarpaulins by far exceeds the number given out. “You have up to five families sheltered under one of those sheets,” Dahal said. “They are thin and definitely not a permanent solution. With monsoon starting soon, we have an urgent need to provide a medium-term solution.”

With partners in ACT Alliance, the LWF has issued a preliminary ACT appeal calling for donations to support the Nepal earthquake response. Emergency needs besides shelter include water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, psychosocial support, food and other relief items, as well as education support as many schools have been destroyed.


Donate to the LWF Nepal emergency

ACT Alliance Preliminary Appeal PL151

 

See the Nepal country program page

Visit the Nepal earthquake response page

Visit the Nepal country program website