26 April, 2015 - Plan preparing to respond to devastating Nepal quake

Plan staff are available for interview. Contact Adam Cathro on 0488 202 945 to organise. Photos taken by Plan staff are available here: bit.ly/nepalquakeplan Please credit 'Plan International Australia'.

Child rights organisation and NGO Plan International is in place in Nepal and set to launch a humanitarian response to the massive April 25 earthquake that has caused widespread devastation.

Plan has an extensive presence in Nepal, with field offices in areas severely impacted by the earthquake, including Kathmandu, Makwanpur and Baglung.

"Children are particularly vulnerable in natural disasters, and making sure that their core needs, including shelter, water, health care, and essential protection mechanisms, will be among our immediate priorities," said Plan International Nepal's Country Director Mattias Bryneson, from Nepal.

"Children may be separated from their families, they may be injured themselves, their homes may be damaged or destroyed, and they may be deeply traumatised. As we get to work assessing the needs of communities and delivering relief, meeting these needs will be among our top priorities."

Damage assessment and casualty numbers are still being tallied from the massive 7.9-magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday morning and also caused extensive damage and casualties in India and Bangladesh.

"We expect that the impact of this will be massive," said Bryneson.

Many members of staff from Plan International Nepal witnessed the earthquake.

"It's dark now in Kathmandu, and power is out in most areas. It seems as though the entire city is outside, sleeping on the streets," said Bryneson.

Power outages are frequent in the affected areas. Outside of the capital, cities and towns in affected areas are also devastated. Landslides have cut off several areas, while aftershocks remain a substantial risk.

"The demand for humanitarian relief is massive, and we're focused on getting aid distributed in coordination with other agencies, NGOs, and the government as quickly and efficiently as possible," said Bryneson.

Plan International is conducting a rapid assessment and working with government, NGO, and UN coordinating mechanisms. Relief teams are preparing to deploy into affected areas. An emergency appeal is expected to be issued shortly.

Editor's notes:
Plan is one of the oldest and largest children's development organisations in the world, founded 75 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.