Ten days after the earthquake, Action Against Hunger has launched an emergency response in Sindhupalchok and Nuwakot, two of the most-affected districts outside of Kathmandu. The cargo sent by our teams was released this weekend, allowing the intervention of the teams in these districts, where the vast majority of the population is homeless and conditions are rapidly deteriorating with the loss of food stocks and the destruction of markets.
In Nuwakot, northwest of Kathmandu, 140,000 people were affected by the earthquake and 80 to 90% of homes were destroyed. Our teams assessed the available food stocks, water needs, and need for psychological support following the disaster. A water treatment system, AquaSure, was installed, which has the capacity to provide clean water to 2,000 people.
In Sindhupalchok, east of the capital, half of the 300,000 inhabitants were affected by the quake. We intervened in close coordination with Médecins du Monde and Solidarités International. Yara Sfeir, a nutritionist working for Action Against Hunger, said,
“Children’s nutritional needs must be met quickly, especially in Chautara, where the hospital completely collapsed. 90% of district health centres were destroyed.”
The mobile clinic we run with Médecins du Monde helps to overcome the lack of health structures and facilitates the screening, care, and treatment of children with severe acute malnutrition. A quiet place for mothers and their children is also expected to facilitate breastfeeding and rest.
Kathmandu has been hit hard by the earthquake, but the deployment of aid in the capital by a large number of humanitarian organizations present there should provide relatively good coverage of the needs of the population especially vulnerable people. While many camps were quickly formed in the city, people are gradually moving out of them.
“People living in these camps have not all lost their homes, but they fear returning home for fear of another earthquake,” said Martin Rosselot, our operations director in Nepal.
Teams specializing in water and sanitation are closely monitoring the situation in the camps in case the situation deteriorates. The psychological consequences of the earthquake are evident, so our teams have started to support the most vulnerable people, pregnant women and children, in the Thapathali Maternity Hospital. After a shock, the mental health of children and the people who care for them is key to the resilience of the population.