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Death toll rising in Nepal following earthquake

Death toll rising in Nepal following earthquake

A magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal on Saturday, toppling buildings and creating avalanches in the Himalayas. The national disaster management agency has declared a state of emergency and says so far, close to 900 people have died.

“I was home with my five-year-old son when the ground started shaking, almost like we were in a boat,” says World Vision's Communications Manager in Nepal Alina Shrestha. “We ran outside and everyone was screaming. One wall of my home collapsed. Tonight, 30 people are staying at my home because I have an open space where they feel safe. Many people are afraid of aftershocks and are sleeping outside, but it’s cold here. My children are sleeping in my car to try to stay warm.”

World Vision is currently working to locate and ensure the safety of its 200 staff and a number of international staff who were attending a workshop in Kathmandu this week.

“Infrastructure is down all over the city,” said Philip Ewert, World Vision’s operations director in Kathmandu. “Power is out with limited internet access. Walls and water tanks are damaged. We are also getting reports that people are trapped in temples and other public buildings as there was a large festival here Saturday.”

Hospitals have reportedly run out of wound management kits in Kathmandu. World Vision staff visiting a local hospital reported an influx of injured patients and the need for help to manage the crowds of those requiring assistance.

Emergency shelter sites are opening up now for families who have lost their home or are seeking safer shelter.

After search and rescue, World Vision disaster management staff say initial needs are potable water, food, household supplies, temporary shelter and protection for children.

Fast facts:

• Aftershocks are continuing. News from the hardest hit area is slow to emerge – and the toll is likely to rise. The total population that may be impacted by this disaster is around 4 million people.

• As night falls, power is down in the capital Kathmandu and in surrounding areas, making initial assessments of the scale of destruction and displacement of people difficult to determine.

• The most immediate needs are potable water, food, household supplies, temporary shelter and protection for children.

• Before the earthquake, World Vision had identified Nepal as “very vulnerable” to earthquakes, and the aid agency had been implementing earthquake preparedness training for communities and workshops for schools to help reduce the risks of earthquakes. This work was done in Lalitpur and Rupandehi Districts for about 65,000 people.

ENDS

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