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The earthquake, the worst in 81 years, caused devastation in the capital city Kathmandu as well as in outlying isolated mountainous areas of the country. The epicentre of the earthquake, which measured 7.8 in magnitude, centred around 50 miles east of the second city, Pokhara. All We Can has been supporting partners working in this region for a number of years. Tremors have been felt in surrounding countries including India and Tibet.
We are pleased to report that we have been in touch with all of our partners and so far have no reports of injuries or casualties within those organisations. However with a countrywide death toll that already stands at just over 6000 people (and is likely to rise over coming days) the situation is serious, and Nepal has declared a national state of emergency. We will be keeping in close contact with our partners in the coming days. Our Programmes and Partnership Manager for Nepal, Nick Burn, is currently in the country and has reported on the seriousness of the situation:
“There are so many areas that have not yet been reached, especially some of the remote rural areas. Whole villages have been destroyed. Just getting to these areas is a challenge! The situation is overwhelming at the moment with people suffering the loss of loved ones, broken bones where houses have collapsed on them and a loss of livestock as well as buildings. The weather has also been very difficult with thunderstorms making night time particularly challenging for those without shelter.”
Image: All We Can/Amrit Poudel
Kopila has expertise in trauma management and has already mobilised ten staff to provide counselling in Kathmandu and the surrounding areas. It is one of the best placed organisations in Nepal to be able to provide this kind of assistance. Bina Silwal, Executive Director of Kopila, was able to speak to us shortly after the disaster:
“This type of disaster not only brings physical injuries but it also brings psychological trauma and mental illness in the long-term. We feel it is our responsibility to support the people who are affected by this tremendous earthquake through psychosocial first aid. We are planning to organise a good team with psychologists and counsellors.”
All We Can immediately agreed an emergency grant to Kopila of £5000 to enable it to quickly deliver this service to affected communities. We have also supported partner Treveni Bikas Samaj (TBS) in purchasing 750 tarpaulin sheets that will be used to provide much needed shelter from the elements for people left without a home in some of mountainous villages around Pokhara devastated by the earthquake. We will support partners to assess the situation and allocate further funds from our emergency appeal in the coming days.
Angela Mugore, Director of International Programmes and Partnerships at All We Can, says: “We are so glad that our partners Kopila and TBS were able to respond immediately with their expertise and experience. We are keeping the situation under review and staying in close contact with our partners. For now our thoughts are with those who are injured, mourning the loss of loved ones and those who have lost their homes and businesses”
Image: All We Can/Amrit Poudel
Cheques can be sent to All We Can, 25 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5JR.
We ask that you join us in prayer as the true extent of the damage is revealed in Nepal and as disaster relief efforts continue:
You are the God of the mountains and the valleys,
we ask that you might bring your healing hand to rest on the country of Nepal.
We pray for the injured and the vulnerable
We pray for those who are grieving
We pray for those who are searching for lost loved ones.
We know you are with them in the rubble and the chaos Lord,
and we ask that today they might feel your comfort and grace. Amen
Laura works for All We Can as the Communications Manager. She is also an internationally acclaimed photographer with a passion for women's rights. She is studying MA in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies in her spare time and lives with her husband Stephen in Essex.