UNICEF has delivered 29 metric tonnes of humanitarian supplies to Nepal including tents and tarpaulins, water purification tablets, first aid and hygiene kits, as part of ongoing efforts to reach at least 1.7 million children living in areas hardest hit by the earthquake. Over the coming days, UNICEF is planning additional aid items to arrive in Kathmandu.
“Children's lives in Nepal have been turned upside down,” said Raju Shreshta, Chief Logistics for UNICEF Supply Division in Copenhagen. “Thousands are dead, houses are destroyed - my family and friends in Nepal are caught up in the disaster, too. There is a lack of medical supplies and beds in the hospitals. As a priority, UNICEF has shipped tents to Nepal that can serve as medical clinics and that can also provide shelter for children in urgent need. We are also sending water purification tablets to make sure children and their families have access to safe drinking water.”
Within hours of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake devastating parts of Nepal, UNICEF had delivered water purification tablets, oral rehydration salts and hygiene kits to affected communities, thanks to 30 metric tonnes of prepositioned emergency stocks kept ready in UNICEF warehouses in Nepal. These will help stave off water borne diseases for families who have little access to safe water as a result of the earthquake. More than a dozen informal settlements have sprung up around the Kathmandu and UNICEF and local partners are trucking safe water and hygiene supplies to all of them.
UNICEF and partners are working with the Government of Nepal to ensure humanitarian supplies are delivered and distributed to affected communities as quickly as possible through a combination of shipping supplies on commercial and charter airlines. Humanitarian agencies are contending with significant delays due to technical restrictions on maximum landing weight and the use of wide-body aircrafts. The congestion at Kathmandu airport, due to constrained warehousing capacity and limited means to distribute incoming cargo, has compounded logistical challenges.
UNICEF has launched a US$50 million appeal to support its humanitarian response to the earthquake in Nepal over the next 90 days.