Thousands of traumatised people affected by the second major earthquake to strike Nepal are in desperate need of shelter before the monsoon hits, Oxfam said today.
Oxfam Australia’s Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke said with the rainy season starting soon and tens of thousands of people still living outdoors in makeshift shelters, there was a risk of waterborne diseases if water and sanitation facilities could not be built quickly.
“The heavy monsoon rains are expected to start in June, and have already begun in some areas,” she said. “With up to 90 per cent of houses destroyed in some areas, providing safe shelter is a huge challenge.”
Oxfam has been delivering tarpaulins, food, clean water, toilets, hygiene kits and seeds to people in need. The international aid agency has helped more than 55,000 people and aims to reach 400,000 people in the next few weeks.
“The latest earthquake exacerbates the challenge of reaching vulnerable people, as access to many of the affected areas is difficult at the best of times,” Dr Szoke said. “Now landslides and rock falls are blocking some roads, and a large number of buildings have reportedly collapsed, especially in Dolakha and Sindhupalchok districts.”
More than 65 people have been reported dead and around 2000 people injured after this week’s earthquake, adding to the existing casualties of more than 8000 dead and 17,000 injured from the earthquake that struck on 25 April.
Eight million people are now affected, of which 2.8 million are homeless and 1.4 million in need of immediate food assistance.
Oxfam is working in seven districts – three in the Kathmandu Valley (Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur) and four rural districts (Gorkha, Sindhupalchok, Nuwakot and Dhading).
“One in four people in Nepal lives below the poverty line, and it’s the poorest who have been worst affected by these disasters, given their houses are built of cheaper materials such as mud, brick and stone, or bamboo and leaves,” Dr Szoke said.
“In Sindhupalchok, Dhading and Nuwakot, we are looking at ways to support farmers to become productive again, as many have lost seeds and animal feed in the earthquakes. “Oxfam is also working hard to try to ensure our assistance also reaches socially excluded groups such as women and some castes, and will assist in the long-term recovery, which must focus on the importance of building back better.”
Oxfam has been working in Nepal for many years, with programs including reducing the risk of disasters in flood- prone areas, building the capability of water and sanitation expertise with our partners and reducing the risk of disasters in urban areas.
To donate to Oxfam’s Nepal Earthquake Appeal, go to www.oxfam.org.au or phone 1800 034 034. For more information please contact Laurelle Keough on 0425 701 801 or firstname.lastname@example.org