The Nepal earthquake, measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale, has caused enormous damage and destruction.
More than 5,000 people have been injured. Powerful aftershocks today between Kathmandu and Everest unleashed more avalanches in the Himalayas and caused panic in the capital, where hospital workers stretchered patients out into the street as it was too dangerous treat them indoors.
People are sleeping out in the open in dropping temperatures because their homes have collapsed or they are too afraid to return to them.
“People have not slept all night – they’ve been gathered outside in open spaces to ensure their own safety from the serious aftershocks, which only stopped at 9 o’clock this morning”
“Smaller aftershocks have continued all day. Electricity is out everywhere and the city is in darkness”
“The hospitals are overrun. Hundreds of dead bodies are piled up in each of them, and thousands of injured people are lined up in the streets waiting for care. There simply isn’t the capacity to respond to the need”
“Accessing communities in the 21 affected districts is difficult, because travel anywhere is almost impossible. Roads everywhere have either collapsed or have become incredibly dangerous. A former member of parliament was killed in a landslide caused by the earthquake, and everybody has been advised not to travel”
“ActionAid in Nepal has a number of youth and women’s networks all across the country. Five of the districts we work in have been hit by this crisis”
Clothes, drinking water and shelter facilities – particularly for children, young mothers and elderly and disabled people is an immediate and urgent need.
“We’ve activated our networks and are relying at this stage on telecommunications to establish what the needs are in each of the affected areas. As soon as we know what is required, we’ll be responding to the needs identified by communities, which we already know will include food, water and shelter”
“We’ll be ensuring that women’s rights and women’s protection are prioritised in this response. ActionAid’s research indicates that women in Nepal are predisposed to disproportionate impacts of disasters”
“We know that violence against women increases in emergencies, and that it is women who bear the greatest burden when it comes to caring for their communities and families in times of crisis”
“Over the past 24 hours, hundreds of local community groups ranging in size from 150 people to 2000 people have mobilised to support each other to respond to the crisis in a show of incredible strength and resilience. ActionAid is doing all it can to support local responders, who are on the frontline of this response.”
A state of emergency has been declared Many historic landmarks, including the Dharahara tower, have been reduced to rubble following the quake.
ActionAid have released £50k immediately to ensure that the response has the support it needs in the coming days. ActionAid Australia has today launched an emergency appeal to support the relief effort on the ground in Kathmandu. To donate, visit: support.actionaid.org.au/pages/emergency-appeal-aa-nepal-earthquake
Interview with ActionAid spokeswoman Holly Miller: