Nepal Earthquake: UNICEF On The Grounds Assessing The Impact

United Nations teams in Nepal are responding the staggering Earthquake in the west of the country, in the midst of reports that over 150 people have been killed and hundreds more in critical conditions.

The strong 6.4 greatness seismic earthquake struck the remote and rustic areas of Rukum (West) and Jajarkot presently before 12 PM on Friday (local time) as families rested in their for the most part mud-block homes, trapping numerous under the rubble. A few consequential aftershocks have since been accounted for.

The tremor was also felt in the capital, Kathmandu, around 510 kilometers (around 315 miles) away. People ran out of their homes, with memories of the deadly April-May 2015 quakes still new to them.

The 2015 earthquake took almost 9,000 lives, destroyed or severely damaged over 500,000 homes, and reduced towns, schools, hospitals and centuries-old historic sites to rubble.

Alice Akunga, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Representative to Nepal, said that children and their families are most at risk, having lost their homes, schools and health centres.

Estimates indicate that thousands of school aged children live in the affected areas and will be impacted.

“The full extent of the damage will unfold in the coming days and sadly the numbers of those affected are likely to grow,” according to Ms. Akunga.

In an official statement released by UNICEF, their team are on the ground, assessing the effect and giving pressing help, including Blankets and canvases.

The institution is gauging the support they require at this crucial juncture in the areas of health, nutrition, education, water, sanitation and hygiene, child protection and social protection.

Other UN agencies have also stepped up their response. The World Health Organization (WHO) is mobilizing medical teams and the UN Satellite Centre (UNOSAT) has been activated to conduct remote damage assessment via satellite image analysis.

According to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), access to Jajarkot is reportedly obstructed by landslides triggered by the earthquake. Efforts are ongoing to reopen the road.

Most of the damage so far has been reported in Jajarkot and Rukum (West). The Government has deployed army helicopters for search and rescue, and dispatched additional medical personnel to regional and field hospitals.

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Immediate needs include medical support, trauma response, extracting people trapped beneath the rubble and the evacuation of affected people to safer locations. The imminent winter has underscored the critical need for warm clothes and shelter, healthcare and food.

Meanwhile, this is the largest earthquake to impact Nepal since the 7.3 magnitude earthquake in 2015, and it is the latest in a series of earthquakes to hit western Nepal in the past year.

The effect of this most recent earthquake is hence intensifying the challenges and vulnerabilities of communities actually recuperating from past shocks in regions where low socio-economic indicators and stretched coping mechanisms were already prevalent, as per OCHA.

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