KATHMANDU, Nepal, April 25, 2015 /CNW/ - An earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale has struck Nepal, toppling buildings and creating avalanches in the Himalayas. The country's national disaster management agency has declared a state of emergency and says so far, more than 1,100 people have died. World Vision staff in Nepal are all safe and accounted for and have begun planning relief operations.
Hospitals have reportedly run out of wound management kits in Kathmandu. World Vision staff visiting a local hospital reported an influx of injured patients and the need for help to manage the crowds of those requiring assistance.
Emergency shelter sites are opening up now for families who have lost their home or are seeking safer shelter.
After search and rescue, World Vision disaster management staff say initial needs are potable water, food, household supplies, temporary shelter and protection for children.
"I was visiting the ancient city of Bhaktapur, about 20km outside of Kathmandu with a group of World Vision colleagues. We were walking in a narrow alley when the quake hit. The ground began to shake and suddenly all of the nearby buildings were moving. We ran into a nearby shop to stand in the entrance to take cover. Buildings were crumbling all around us. When it felt safe, we ran to an open space where we were able to see the devastation of the ancient pagodas and temples that we had literally just visited an hour before. We sat in an open square for the aftershocks." - Reena Vohra, World Vision Canada's Child Protection Policy Advisor on the ground in Nepal.
"I am back in Kathmandu now, we are still feeling tremors and we continue to run outside each time we feel the ground shake. We are assembled and waiting in the hotel lobby until further notice. The airport is closed so I am unable to fly out today as planned. I'm still incredibly shaken up. I've never experienced anything like this. People were screaming and crying all around me. I'm still feeling unsettled as the aftershocks continue." - Reena Vohra, World Vision Canada's Child Protection Policy Advisor on the ground in Nepal.
"Infrastructure is down all over the city," said Philip Ewert, World Vision's operations director in Kathmandu. "Power is out with limited internet access. Walls and water tanks are damaged. We are also getting reports that people are trapped in temples and other public buildings as there was a large festival here Saturday."
[See photos from World Vision's emergency response team here].
- Aftershocks are continuing. News from the hardest hit area is slow to emerge – and the toll is likely to rise. The total population that may be impacted by this disaster is around 4 million people.
- As night falls, power is down in the capital Kathmandu and in surrounding areas, making initial assessments of the scale of destruction and displacement of people difficult to determine.
- The most immediate needs are potable water, food, household supplies, temporary shelter and protection for children.
- Before the earthquake, World Vision had identified Nepal as "very vulnerable" to earthquakes, and the aid agency had been implementing earthquake preparedness training for communities and workshops for schools to help reduce the risks of earthquakes. This work was done in Lalitpur and Rupandehi Districts for about 65,000 people.
What Canadians can do:
Canadians wishing to donate to World Vision's emergency response in Nepal, can visit worldvision.ca, or call 1-866-595-5550.
World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. Visit our News Centre at worldvision.ca.
SOURCE World Vision Canada
For further information: Bob Neufeld, Emergency Communications Manager, 647-622-2045, Robert_Neufeld@worldvision.ca