Teams from World Vision have been working on the huge task of coordinating aid efforts to provide help to those who have been worst affected by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal. The organisation has sent a team to examine the extent of the damage which took them several hours by vehicle and then a half day trek despite the distance of less than 50 miles.
Lots of rubble
In the immediate aftermath of the quake, World Vision staffers described roads in Kathmandu as being blocked by rubble and debris as well as older toppled buildings. The more modern buildings in the city remained standing, however few were inhabited because people were afraid that the structures were safe. Despite the fact that Nepal sits in a region that is prone to earthquakes, many of the country’s villages and towns are simply not prepared to deal with an earthquake of this size, according to World Vision Nepal employee Matt Darvas.
“Villages in the areas affected near the epicentre are literally perched on the sides of large mountain faces and are made from simple stone and rock construction. Many of these villages are only accessible by 4WD and then foot, with some villages hours and even entire days walks away from main roads at the best of times. It will likely be helicopter access only for these remote villages,” Darvas said.
“Villages like this are routinely affected by landslides and it’s not uncommon for entire villages of 200, 300, up to 1000 people to be completely ‘buried’ by rock falls. We are slowly hearing reports that this may have been the case in villages in the Kaski and Gorkha regions. Delivery of medical assistance will also be a challenge. Health posts are often rudimentary in the village districts with limited services, and are not even always staffed by a registered doctor. Some villages rely on being able to access the health posts of surrounding villages. If they are ‘cut off’, it’s possible that entire villages are without medical assistance right now. ”Darvas added.
World Vision’s initial response to the plight of 50,000 people includes meeting their most pressing needs such as providing temporary shelter, blankets, sleep mats and first aid kits. The agency is also providing protection for children by setting up three child friendly spaces in order for kids to have a safe place to play.
Nepal is vulnerable
Experts say that Nepal is one of the most vulnerable countries to earthquakes. As such World Vision has been implementing earthquake preparedness training for communities in Nepal as well as running workshops for schools that seek to cut down on the risks from these natural disasters. The aid agency has launched an emergency appeal for to help the worst affected in Nepal and is calling on the general public to help with donations.