Oxfam on standby to respond to Nepal Earthquake

Emergencies, Media Releases, News article written on the 25 Apr 2015

Oxfam stands ready to respond to a massive 7.9 magnitude earthquake that has caused devastation in Nepal.

The quake struck an area between the capital Kathmandu and the city of Pokhara, according to the US Geological Survey.

It struck just after 4pm Australian EST. There have been reports of tremors across the region, as far afield as Pakistan, Bangladesh and neighbouring India.

It’s reported the earthquake has caused extensive damage in the Himalayan nation.

Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke said the Oxfam team in Kathmandu was safe, and stood ready to respond.

“We’re fearing the worst; this was a massive earthquake,” Dr Szoke said.

“In an emergency like this, once our team know it’s safe to do so, they would be looking at providing water and sanitation if infrastructure is damaged, as in many cases like this water supplies could be contaminated.

“Other priorities would be emergency shelter and non-food items such as hygiene materials and blankets.”

The international aid agency has been responding to floods and landslides in Nepal since 1993 and includes earthquake scenario planning in all contingency plans.

It has pre-existing agreements with suppliers as well as pre-positioned stocks.

In August last year, Oxfam launched a response to the landslides and floods that hit the Mid and Far Western districts of the country.

“Our thoughts are now with the people of Nepal in the aftermath of this huge quake,” Dr Szoke said.

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For further information and interviews about the Earthquake in Nepal, please contact Laurelle Keough on 0425 701 801 or laurellek@oxfam.org.au