Time is running out for aid workers to get vital assistance and pre-positioned supplies to people affected by the Nepal earthquakes, with the monsoon season about to start and tens of thousands of people still living outdoors in makeshift shelters.
During the monsoon, 80 per cent of Nepal annual rainfall will fall in less than three months and there is an urgent need to ensure people have safe shelter before it hits. People are still traumatised, and there is a risk of waterborne diseases if clean water and adequate sanitation cannot be provided in time.
Speaking from Nepal, Oxfam Australia’s Nepal Response Manager Richard Simpson said Oxfam was working hard to get help to where it was needed most, with the help of mountain guides and porters.
“We are racing against the monsoon to deliver relief in the most remote areas,” Mr Simpson said.
“Oxfam and its partners have been distributing tarpaulins in seven of the fourteen worst hit districts, and we are planning to provide people with corrugated iron sheets, which will provide better protection against the rain and wind during the monsoon.
“We are also planning to set up stores of water treatment items, soap and hygiene kits in key locations in the remotest areas, to make sure people can access aid even once the monsoon has started.”
In total, Oxfam has reached more than 156,000 people so far, and we aim to help 400,000 people by the end of June.
“There is also a risk farmers will miss the planting season,” Mr Simpson said.
“In Sindhupalchok, Dhading and Nuwakot, together with partners we are distributing rice seeds to support farmers to become productive again as many have lost seeds and animal feed in the earthquakes.”
Oxfam is also looking at long-term measures to support people who still have to live in makeshift accommodation, from planning children’s day centres to organising women’s centres.
During humanitarian emergencies, women and girls can become particularly vulnerable, so Oxfam is working closely with our experienced partners to make sure that women are getting the aid they need, and that they are protected in the process.
To donate to Oxfam’s Nepal Earthquake Appeal call 1800 034 034.
To arrange interviews with Oxfam Australia Nepal Response Manager Richard Simpson, call Angus Hohenboken on 0428 367 318 or email firstname.lastname@example.org