Emergency update from the field


April 26, 2015

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  • The 7.8 magnitude earthquake caused massive damage in Nepal's Kathmandu Valley. Photo: REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Our team in Nepal today is quickly prepping emergency supply kits for survivors of yesterday’s deadly earthquake. Each kit will supply a family with items like clean water, clothing, cooking utensils, towels and hygiene supplies to meet their daily needs.

Follow the latest updates from our Nepal earthquake response ▸
You can help by donating to our Nepal Earthquake Response Fund ▸

Items in the emergency kits include blankets, clothing and cooking tools. Photo: Jeff Shannon/Mercy Corps

The team reported today that conditions are still extremely precarious; most people are sleeping outside for fear of damaged buildings collapsing from continued tremors.

“The emergency is not over,” noted Jared Rowell, Senior Program Officer for the region. “Aftershocks continue, some as strong as 6.7 magnitude, all through the Kathmandu Valley and are being felt throughout the country.”

“We just felt a big tremor,” said Mercy Corps Country Director Sanjay Karki right after this morning’s huge aftershock. “It is pretty terrifying.”

Mercy Corps has more than 90 staff members in Nepal, one of the largest humanitarian teams on the ground. Most are Nepalese and have suffered their own losses and damaged homes.

“There are major communications challenges, so it is difficult for people to find out if their relatives are safe,” says Karki. Yet, they are working as quickly as they can to help their neighbors survive and look for ways to help their communities rebuild after this tragic disaster.

Damage and destruction in the Kathmandu Valley. Photo: Laxmi Prasad Ngakhusi-UNDP Nepal

Yesterday’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake was the worst to hit the area in 80 years, striking just northwest of the densely populated capital of Kathmandu.

Reports so far indicate that thousands of people were killed and even more were injured in the deadly earthquake. The damage in Kathmandu is extensive, with homes, roads and historic temples completely destroyed.

It’s estimated that 6.6 million people have been affected across 40% of the country. But communications are still spotty, so the real damage of the earthquake, particularly in more remote areas, is still unknown.

People search for family members in the rubble of collapsed houses. Photo: REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

“The death toll will rise,” said Karki. “Numbers are still coming in from places outside of Kathmandu.”

The extent of the damage is particularly worrisome in a country where nearly two-thirds of people live on less than $2 a day. They will have few resources to get the most basic supplies and recover all that they have lost.

Our team is currently coordinating with the U.N. and other relief agencies to make sure urgent needs are met in the epicenter of the quake around Kathmandu. The government has requested that we quickly increase our distributions to 5,000 emergency supply kits, 2,000 shelter kits and 5,000 tarps.

Because most of our staff are local and have direct connections with communities, we’re uniquely positioned to assess the damage in harder-to-reach areas that have not yet been heard from.

We expect the situation to become clearer in the next few days so we can scale up our response and reach areas where we will have the greatest impact for survivors.

How you can help

  • Donate to our Humanitarian Response Fund: Your gift will help people in Nepal recover and support our emergency efforts to crises in Syria, South Sudan, Ukraine and around the world. Give now ▸
  • Fundraise for survivors: Our team is able to quickly respond to natural disasters because of supporters like you — and the more people who come together to help, the more people we can reach. Spread the word to your family and friends: Start a fundraising page for Nepal ▸