The needs of children and vulnerable communities in Nepal must be prioritised in the wake of the weekend’s devastating earthquake, says Plan International Australia, one of key NGOs involved in the humanitarian response.
Plan International is preparing for the coordinated distribution of immediate aid and trying to reach remote and cut-off rural communities to assess the immediate needs of impacted areas.
Plan is receiving reports of widespread devastation in remote districts located just west of the earthquake’s epicentre, with a further 6.7-magnitude aftershock felt in the region yesterdat afternoon, closing Kathmandu airport and hampering the delivery of aid.
“We have teams that have gone into remote communities in Makwanpur and Baglung, close to the epicentre, and an assessment team is headed to Pokhara this evening,” said Mattias Bryneson, Country Director of Plan Nepal.
“There is widespread destruction, collapsed buildings, schools severely damaged, and many roads are blocked due to landslides in rural areas,” said Bryneson, who traveled by road to Kathmandu from the country’s South East yesterday.
Some of the worst affected areas are communities of Dalit people, sometimes referred to as the “untouchable” caste. These are already some of Nepal’s poorest and most marginalised, vulnerable communities, making their needs all the more urgent and acute.
“It is starting to rain in many areas, and all over the region people are living outside with little or no shelter, children are crying, and health care facilities are overrun,” said Bryneson.
“We’re working to coordinate aid in these areas, and prioritising the needs of children and the most vulnerable.”
Plan International is working with the government of Nepal, UN agencies, and NGOs to coordinate the distribution of relief. Experienced teams from Plan Nepal are in communities throughout the affected areas, and teams of international specialists are en route to Nepal to aid the relief effort.
“We know Australians are generous people and our friends in Nepal are in urgent need of our support. We hope every Australian can make a donation – even the smallest donation can make a huge difference to people who really need our help right now,” says Rohan Kent, Disaster Response Manager for Plan International Australia.
Australians can donate to Plan’s Nepal earthquake appeal by visiting plan.org.au or by ringing 13 75 26.
Plan is one of the oldest and largest children's development organisations in the world, founded 77 years ago, working in 51 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas and supported by 21 donor countries. Plan is independent, with no religious, political or governmental affiliations.
Media contact: Adam Cathro, Plan International Australia, Media Relations Manager, 0488 202 945