DISASTER UPDATE: Nepal Earthquake
Red Cross Responding to 7.8 Magnitude Earthquake in Nepal
The American Red Cross has committed $1 million, deployed a total of 9 disaster specialists and is providing relief supplies to support the response. As the response grows, the American Red Cross is working closely with the Nepal Red Cross and the global Red Cross network to coordinate additional support. Our continued activities will focus on the following:
- Assessments and Coordination: The American Red Cross has deployed two disaster specialists from a regional office in Bangkok to support the response. An American Red Cross information management specialist has also deployed to support overall Red Cross coordination.
- Relief/Cash Transfer: The American Red Cross has made relief supplies available to the operation and is deploying three disaster specialists as part of a Red Cross team working to conduct damage assessments, identify key needs and support relief activities.
- IT/Telecommunications: The American Red Cross has deployed two IT/Telecommunications specialists and a voice & data satellite to support the Red Cross response.
- Information Management/Geographic Information Systems (GIS): In addition to deploying an information management specialist, the American Red Cross is also providing remote information management and mapping support to the response. The American Red Cross has also deployed a media specialist to Geneva to support the overall Red Cross response.
- Restoring Family Links: American Red Cross chapters are working with global Red Cross partners to reconnect family members separated by the earthquake. For more information on family linking, please visit the Nepal Earthquake Restoring Family Links page.
On April 25, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck 48 miles NW of Kathmandu, Nepal at 11:56 a.m. local time. The earthquake affected up to 8 million people, resulting in more than 5,000 deaths and injuring at least 10,100 people. The earthquake most severely affected the Western and Central regions of Nepal, and also caused deaths and damage in parts of Bangladesh, China and India. Casualty figures are expected to rise as relief actors continue to gain access to remote areas. The earthquake displaced an estimated 2.8 million people, many of whom are currently staying outdoors in cold, wet conditions due to both home damage and fears of continued aftershocks. Initial assessments indicate that some 600,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in the earthquake.
Relief efforts are under way and expected to increase in the coming days. In addition to continued relief efforts in the Kathmandu Valley, the response continues to broaden as humanitarian actors gain access to remote areas. Current humanitarian efforts are focused on search and rescue, medical care and the distribution of relief supplies such as tarps and shelter materials. International search and rescue teams from 18 countries—including the United States—are currently operating in Nepal. The Government of Nepal has reported that current in-country search and rescue capacity is sufficient to cover all affected areas. The Kathmandu airport is operating 24 hours a day and serving as the primary logistics hub for the relief operation. However, the large volume of incoming goods and response teams has caused congestion. Humanitarian responders are setting up additional logistics hubs in the cities of Pokhara and Birgunj to help manage the supply of relief items.
The Nepal Red Cross has mobilized staff and volunteers to conduct assessments as well as provide first aid and search and rescue support in 12 of the most affected districts. Nepal Red Cross teams have begun distributions of relief supplies and have distributed more than 5,600 tarps and blankets to date. The Red Cross blood bank in Nepal is also providing blood supplies to medical facilities in Kathmandu. The Nepal Red Cross has branches in all 75 districts of Nepal, more than 1,300 sub-branches, 1.1 million members, and 100,000 active volunteers. The Global Red Cross response is focused on emergency health, shelter, livelihoods, reconnecting families, providing safe and dignified burials and supporting Nepal Red Cross preparedness and response capacity. Additional Red Cross teams from around the world are deploying specialists with expertise in healthcare, logistics, IT/Telecommunications, assessment and coordination and emergency relief.