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Nepal Earthquake: Babies born in open air

Nepal Earthquake: Babies born outside as remote health clinics near epicentre are overwhelmed and patients too scared to return inside. World Vision begins emergency distribution.

World Vision Communications Officer in Nepal Matt Darvas has told of seeing babies born in the open as health centres struggle with the immense need and dangerous aftershocks.

“Outside in the fields surrounding the hospital were hundreds of patients who were in the hospital when the earthquake hit. They are afraid to go inside with aftershocks continuing. Several women gave birth in the sun outside on the grass lying on nothing more than ‘yoga mats’.

"I saw one baby born in front of me, an incredible testimony to the power of life amidst so much death and chaos," said Darvas, at Western Regional Hospital, Pokhara hospital, six hours walk from the quake’s epicentre.

At the hospital, 75-year old survivor Dhan Bahadur Gale, who’s village is close to the epicentre of the quake, said that 90% of the 1100 homes in his village are decimated: “Standing outside my home at the time, when I finally looked up, only a few walls remained. I have no idea how many people survived the quake or what conditions my fellow villagers are facing but I fear the worst."

"When the earthquake struck it was like a volcano had erupted."

World Vision will today begin to distribute emergency supplies to some of the millions of people affected by the Nepal Earthquake.

Over the coming days the humanitarian agency will meet the immediate needs of 100,000 people providing first aid kids, sleeping mats, blankets, water, temporary shelter and protection for children. This will include setting up Child Friendly spaces so that children have a safe place to play following the trauma of the quake. World Vision will respond in the worst-affected areas of Lamjung, Gorkha, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur and Kathmandu Districts.

World Vision staff members based in Nepal this morning told of the terror of continuing aftershocks.

“Around 1pm Sunday (7pm NZT) we felt another aftershock which was as big as an earthquake – 6.7 on the Richter scale. So people are really afraid to go home now. Some people are even staying inside their cars,” said Alina Shrestha, World Vision Nepal Communications Manager.

“It’s a very grim situation with the rain and cold, but we have nearly 50 people taking shelter in makeshift tents in my garden at my home because they have nowhere else to go.”

Rain is predicted throughout the next three days and people will need shelter. Visibility and access is expected to be impaired, further hampering search and rescue efforts and this will impact affected children and communities even more.

World Vision has sent out teams to assess damage in more remote rural areas. It is currently unknown what the scale of devastation is outside of Kathmandu.

Recovery will have a strong focus on disaster preparedness and disaster risk reduction. 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 risk of earthquakes.

Donate to World Vision’s Nepal Earthquake Appeal on 0800 800 776


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