Relief gains in quake-struck Nepal substantial, yet insufficient.

20150525_153258Kathmandu/Bangkok, 25 May 2015 — The large-scale relief operation launched in the wake of the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake, which struck Nepal on 25 April, continues to intensify. National and local authorities are leading the effort, supported by the United Nations, humanitarian partners, the international community, private sector and volunteers.

“The momentum is there. We have been making substantial progress for the past month,” said Jamie McGoldrick, Humanitarian Coordinator in Nepal. “Considering the conditions and complexities, we are now well-positioned to assist all the affected communities”.

The topography of Nepal is the major challenge. Some 315,000 people in the 14 most affected districts remain in areas inaccessible by road, while 75,000 of cannot be reached even by air. Aid delivery is complemented with traditional methods, to work around challenges. Elite climbers and porters joined the effort, setting off on foot from the areas where aid is dropped off. Five logistics and three coordination hubs, together with an established humanitarian staging area and mobile storage units, allow the responders to optimize the flow of relief goods, both by air and by road.

With monsoon season just two/three weeks away, the race is on to provide hundreds of thousands of families with roofs over their heads. Food and other items and services are also urgently required to ensure the survival of people affected by the back-to-back quakes.

“We don’t have much time left to achieve what we set out to accomplish,” said Mr. McGoldrick. “But with the right support at the right time, we can assist people who desperately need our help, even those in the remote hard-to-reach places”.

The United Nations and humanitarian partners aim to provide emergency shelter to more than 350,000 families whose homes were destroyed. Some 1.9 million people are in need of immediate food assistance and 1.5 million people require sanitation and hygiene support. On-going medical care is needed for 2 million people, while effective surveillance and response measures must be deployed to mitigate any possible disease outbreaks. Providing immediate learning spaces and support to some 1.1 million children is an immediate protective and psycho-social measure for children and will allow families to return to livelihood activities.

To date, only US$ 92.4 million, or 22 per cent of what is required for the response, was received against the $423 million humanitarian appeal, launched by the UN and partners on 29 April. A further $33 million (or additional eight per cent) in support of the ongoing response was received by partners outside of the Flash Appeal.

– Office of the Humanitarian Coordinator in Nepal