GG News Bureau
UNITED NATIONS, 07th Nov. UN agencies in Nepal on Monday said that they are responding to the deadly earthquake that hit western Nepal over the weekend, claiming 153 lives, injuring over 330 and forcing thousands of people to flee their homes in freezing temperatures.
According to agencies on the ground, over 380 aftershocks have been reported since the 6.4 magnitude quake struck shortly before midnight of Friday into Saturday, local time.
The initial findings suggested over 4,000 homes have been damaged in the worst affected districts of Rukum (West) and Jajarkot, leaving 1.3 million people without effective shelter, some 250,000 may need immediate assistance.
Over 213 schools have been damaged, including 91 which have collapsed, according to media reports.
The remoteness of the area in terrain susceptible to landslides and recurring aftershocks, poses significant challenges.
The UN stressed that the seismic event was the deadliest in Nepal since the April-May 2015 quakes, which claimed 9,000 lives, destroyed or severely damaged over 500,000 homes and caused billions of dollars in economic loss.
UN chief Antonio Guterres in a statement issued in New York is deeply saddened over the loss of life and damage caused by the earthquake, his spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said.
He added that the UN is working closely with authorities in providing speedy assistance to those affected.
Mr. Dujarric in a statement issued in New York said “Having just recently returned from Nepal, and with the hospitality and the spirit of the country’s people fresh in his heart, the Secretary-General expresses his solidarity with the Government and people of Nepal and extends his sincere condolences to the families of the victims”.
The region is the most impoverished inNepal left vulnerable from the offset.
High numbers of men take seasonal jobs elsewhere, leavie many women, children and elderly relatives behind in towns and villages.
Hanaa Singer-Hamdy UN Resident Coordinator in Nepal said that “The impact of this latest earthquake is compounding the difficulties and vulnerabilities of communities with low socio-economic indicators and stretched coping mechanisms.”
UN agencies in coordination with the Government and humanitarian partners are providing temporary shelter, food, and non-food items.
WFP is providing logistics support at the Humanitarian Staging Area and has sent 6 metric tonnes of emergency food.
WHO and the UNFPA are supplying medical resources and teams.
UNICEF is providing emergency supplies for vulnerable children and families, have distributed 1,000 tarpaulins and 1,300 blankets, with 3,000 more on the way. They are also supplying water, sanitation, and hygiene supplies.
UNFPA in collaboration with other agencies, focuses on gender-based violence response and referrals, enlisting counsellors and community-based psychosocial care specialists. UN-Women supports women’s groups including community kitchens and relief packages.
UNDP and the International Organization for Migration are providing support to the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre.
The agency is preparing to deploy engineers, volunteers, and drones for damage assessment.