By Sarah Mac Donald - 28 April, 2015
Trócaire has committed an initial €100,000 to the Nepal emergency response aimed at getting shelter, food and water to people left homeless as a result of last Saturday’s devastating earthquake.
The 7.9 magnitude quake destroyed buildings in the capital Kathmandu and flattened villages in the surrounding region, leaving 4,000 people dead and as many as 6,000 are injured.
According to the UN, up to eight million people have had their lives disrupted by the earthquake, the worst to hit the Himalayan region in more than 80 years.
UNICEF has warned that supplies of food and clean drinking water are dwindling.
Trócaire has launched an emergency appeal in response and has requested the public’s support to raise money to deliver aid to those who need it.
Donations can be made at trocaire.org or by phoning 1850,408 408 (RoI) or 0800 912 1200 FREE (NI).
As a member of the global Caritas network of humanitarian agencies, donations received by Trócaire will go towards the Caritas relief effort.
Noreen Gumbo, Trócaire’s Head of Humanitarian Programmes, said aid is already reaching affected communities.
“Our partner organisations in Nepal have already begun distributing shelter, food and water to people left homeless by the earthquake. Food and water are also desperately needed.”
The Trócaire spokeswoman explained, “We are pledging an initial €100,000 to support their efforts and to ensure that more survivors are reached in these crucial days immediately following the earthquake. Sadly, the death toll in Nepal is likely to rise over the coming days as people are pulled from collapsed buildings and contact is made with more remote areas that have been cut-off due to the phone networks going down and damaged roads.”
“Many thousands of people are homeless as a result of the earthquake. With over 60 aftershocks having hit Nepal since Saturday, people are too scared to go back inside and so an estimated one million people are sleeping in open spaces.”
Fr Pius Perumana, Director of Caritas Nepal, warned that the death toll could be three times as high as currently estimated.
“We are distributing the necessary things – tarpaulin, tents and food. People are in dire need. I have seen a lot of destruction, with so many buildings collapsed. People are still trapped in buildings and we don’t know whether they are dead or alive.”
“Most of the shops and markets are closed so there is reduced availability of food, water and sanitary items. What the people need immediately is shelter. Temperatures are dropping at night and there is also rain.”
“Children are sleeping outside at night. It is really traumatic for them. Over 3,000 are confirmed dead but I have heard estimates that it will be at least three times higher because we are still getting reports from outlying districts and villages where there are not communications facilities.”
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan, has announced that Ireland will provide up to €1 million in life-saving assistance to families displaced by the earthquake.
According to Minister of State for Development, Trade Promotion and North South Co-operation, Seán Sherlock, “Irish Aid is also liaising with UN partners with a view to the deployment of highly skilled members of Ireland’s Rapid Response Corps to work with UN partners on the ground to provide expertise on logistics and coordination in this emergency response.”