Caritas working to expand relief outside Kathmandu
Almost a week after the massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal, and Caritas’ continuing relief work providing those in severely affected Kathmandu with emergency shelter, food, water and hygiene kits is being expanded outside the capital.
More than 6,000 people are reported to have died and an estimated 8 million people have been affected by the earthquake across the country. With extensive damage to buildings and continuing aftershocks in the region, many people are sleeping outside and require shelter and protection from the cold and rain.
Caritas is now mobilising its emergency response through its strong Church network and connections with local communities involved in long-term development programmes to reach areas outside the city.
However, there are challenges as the Government is now asking aid organisations to hand over relief supplies to government agencies for distribution to those in need.
“Aid is coming in, but the airport is very busy and clearance of relief items is taking time. With the arrival of more and more aid organisations, prices are skyrocketing and there is rapidly expanding competition for transport and relief goods,” says Fr Pius Perumana SJ, Director of Caritas Nepal.
Caritas in Nepal is a well-respected partner of the Nepalese Government for humanitarian relief work and is negotiating to continue directly implementing its response.
“Our Caritas network is supporting the Caritas Nepal team as they prioritise emergency shelter, trauma counselling, food, clean water and the hygiene materials people desperately need,” says Mark Mitchell, Humanitarian Programmes Coordinator for Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand.
“We will work through the Church network and Caritas Nepal’s strong local connections to reach some of the most marginalised communities in the country. We know the Community Disaster Committees that Caritas’ has supported in many remote and rural areas will have already been responding to immediate needs while they wait for more substantial aid to arrive.”
Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand has a long relationship with communities in Nepal and has worked alongside Caritas Nepal for more than a decade to support farmers in developing strong small farming and agro-business co-operatives. This has helped to improve the lives of rural poor, ensure food security and create sustainable economies for these communities.
*If donating online, select Nepal Disaster Fund