KATHMANDU (May 13, 2015) – Little more than two weeks after Nepal’s worst earthquake in more than 80 years, the country was traumatized by a second deadly earthquake on May 12.
CARE was in the process of scaling up its response in the remote Sindhupalchowk district at the time of the second earthquake.
A CARE team was in the village of Yarsa, Sindhupalchowk, doing an assessment and preparation. They reported that houses standing after the first earthquake have now fallen, causing more injuries. CARE helped facilitate the evacuation of a seriously injured woman in Yarsa.
On Wednesday, a CARE team continued to assess the situation in Sindhupalchowk, aiming to providing relief supplies in the next two days. CARE’s delivery of emergency assistance to affected communities has continued in the districts of Dhading, Lamjung and Gorkha.
According to OCHA, the 7.3 magnitude quake struck at 12:50 local time Tuesday with the epicenter 47 miles (76km) northeast of Kathmandu. A series of strong aftershocks followed. The latest earthquake killed at least 65 more people, injured nearly 2,000 and caused additional homes and buildings to crumble. At least 17 died in India.
Lex Kassenberg, CARE’s country director in Nepal, said all CARE staff are safe and accounted for. Kassenberg was standing atop a hill in Pachok, Lamjung district organizing a relief aid distribution when the earthquake hit. “I could see cracks start appearing in houses. People were in a complete panic, running towards open places, or to their houses if they had family there.”
CARE Nepal is sending reinforcements to Sindhupalchowk on Wednesday, including technical experts in water and sanitation.
Lucy Beck, a communications officer with CARE, was in Sindhupalchowk Wednesday participating in assessments in communities already badly affected by the first major earthquake. ”In villages our team has visited all remaining structures that were destroyed by the second quake. There was panic and there is still a lot of fear in the community. Rubble and rocks are still falling and there have been a number of strong aftershocks. Roads have been blocked so our team had to walk several hours to get access” reports Beck.
CARE is looking at ways to get essential items to these communities as quickly as possible using trucks, helicopters or on foot. Supplies will include hygiene kits, as many household latrines have been destroyed by the quake.
“It is a race against the clock before monsoon season begins and conditions for communities deteriorate even further” says Beck.
The initial April 25 earthquake killed at least 7,365 people, injured more than 14,355 and destroyed an estimated 191,000 homes, while damaging 175,000 more. Since then, CARE has reached nearly 11,000 people with food, emergency shelter and hygiene items, and is scaling up its response to reach 100,000 of the most vulnerable people, with a focus on the remote areas of Nepal. Over the next month CARE plans to distribute weather resistant emergency shelter to 30,000 people in preparation for the monsoon rains. In the coming week, vital food and shelter items are being distributed to villages in Sindhupalchowk and Dhading.
CARE is particularly concerned about the 14,000 women who are expected to give birth in Nepal over the next month. An estimated 2,000 of them are at risk of experiencing complications that require emergency obstetric care. CARE has started distributing reproductive health kits to villages in Gorkha this week that include essential medicines and supplies for birthing attendants to handle medical complications in delivery.
CARE has launched an appeal of $40 million to provide emergency relief and long-term recovery. It takes $250 to provide a month’s worth of food for a family and $220 to provide a family with emergency shelter.
About CARE: Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. A nonpartisan, nonreligious organization, CARE worked in 90 countries last year and reached more than 72 million people around the world. To learn more, visit www.care.org.
Nicole Harris, firstname.lastname@example.org, 404-735-0871 (mobile)