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Challenges in rush to help Nepal earthquake survivors

Challenges in rush to help Nepal earthquake survivors

Congested airports, impassible roads
Some remote villages are multiple days walk away
Aid system already stretched thin with humanitarian crises in Syria and Vanuatu
World Vision had been preparing for the ‘big one’ in Nepal with training for communities and pre-positioned supplies


World Vision is rushing supplies to those in need in Nepal, days after an earthquake hit the country, causing widespread death and damage. Approximately 5,000 lives have been lost and 8 million people have been affected by the quake. Many are in need of immediate help including food, water and temporary shelter. The death toll is expected to rise as response teams continue to trek to the most remote areas near the epicentre.

“We know the clock is ticking for those impacted by the earthquake. Aid is a matter of life or death for many at this point. Our staff, as part of the humanitarian effort, are pushing to deploy aid under extreme conditions, well aware of that urgency,” says Phillip Ewert, World Vision’s Operations Director in Nepal. “Staff have been distributing items while they themselves are still sleeping in tents at night.”

World Vision has been distributing supplies that were pre-positioned in Nepal. It plans to meet the immediate needs of 100,000 people in the worst hit areas by providing first aid kits, water, temporary shelter, hygiene supplies and blankets.

The next round of distributions will depend on relief supplies being airlifted in from Dubai, but at the moment, flights are having difficulties landing at Tribhuvan International Airport due to congestion and continued aftershocks.

The rush to bring aid to Nepal comes as international relief organisations are stretched particularly thin with several large-scale, long-term disasters worldwide. Syria and other conflict areas like South Sudan and the Central African Republic have created a situation where there are more refugees in need of aid worldwide than there have been at any time in history since World War II. Meanwhile, Vanuatu is still recovering from the aftermath of Cyclone Pam.

“We are facing an unprecedented situation where staff who specialise in key areas like water and sanitation and trauma counselling for children are in demand all over the world. At the same time funding is barely meeting the needs for many of these long-term disasters,” says Chris Palusky, World Vision’s Vice President of Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs.

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