The UK’s response continues to support the most vulnerable in the run-up to winter

Nov. 3, 2015, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol:09,No-8.Oct.2015,(Asoj 29,2072)

Whether it is hard time of easy time, United Kingdom remains well wishers and good support of Nepal at the time of crisis. As Nepal and United Kingdom is celebrating 200 years of establishment of bilateral relations, the UK comes out with new package to respond the need of winter.

The approaching winter is a particular concern in Nepal, a mountainous country. The UN estimates that over 81,000 families require support to keep warm as they live above 1,500m and do not have permanent housing. Blankets, clothes and basic insulation for temporary shelters are urgently needed. DFID is doing its best to ensure the supply of humanitarian winter goods needs to continue if Nepal is not to see a second round of earthquake related deaths from cold and lack of shelter in the high hills.

 Since the earthquakes, relief distribution has been challenged by logistical, access and weather constraints. Though the monsoon season has passed, winter now approaches across Nepal and many remain homeless. The current fuel crisis is compounding the already challenging logistical situation as well as affecting critical activities such as planting and harvests, crucial to helping people recover their livelihoods. 528,000 people across the earthquake affected area have fallen into food insecurity since the earthquake. 58,000 remain under tarpaulins in 120 displaced camps across the affected areas, while more than 370,000 families still remain without appropriate temporary shelter.

 The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) reacted swiftly to the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal by allocating a package totalling £70m. The first phase of support was immediate, responding to critical life-saving needs across the 14 most affected districts. Between April and September, £33m was committed to immediate life-saving humanitarian assistance and the delivery of urgent humanitarian supplies. This has included support to remote access logistics ranging from trail repair and use of porters, mules, yaks and tractors to helicopters. £10m was also committed to  delivering critical health support, such as  immunisation for children, women enabling safe childbirth delivery and rebuilding of damaged health facilities.

 According to a press release issued by British Embassy, UK support has so far provided over 200,000 people severely affected by the earthquake with essential shelter; improved water and sanitation support to over 50,000 people; 27,000 people with non-food items and 25,000 people with cash transfers.  We have also supported specific vulnerable groups through our response, particularly 10,000 women and girls with female friendly safe spaces and suitable relief items specific to their needs and over 2,000 injured and vulnerable people with rehabilitation or other medical treatment.

UK support has also supported activities that ensure lifesaving humanitarian relief reaches communities inaccessible by road or trails, including the delivery of over 1,000 metric tonnes of items such as medicines and emergency communications equipment, as well as funding over 1,400 flying hours that have ensured humanitarian organisations could deliver lifesaving support to vulnerable and remote communities.

 DFID Nepal continues to be a strong supporter of the humanitarian effort in Nepal and announces its second phase of humanitarian assistance. £10m has now been allocated to partners to continue providing critical humanitarian support to vulnerable populations across the districts. This funding will support over  200,000 people receive winterised  items, such as urgently needed blankets, mattresses and winter clothes, as well as ensuring  critical logistical operations continue to reach highly remote and road-inaccessible locations as winter approaches.

 The UK is also supporting early recovery activities that will ensure effective transition from relief to reconstruction, including the removal of debris from at least 1,300 building sites and the demolition/clearance of 100 public buildings, enabling communities to begin rebuilding.

DFID is also supporting activities in 57 displacement camps across 7 earthquake-affected districts, including coordination and urgently needed site improvements such as sanitation, health and protection measures. Over 51,000 people will benefit from these increased camp services, with at least 8,000 internally displaced people receiving bespoke psychosocial support. DFID Nepal stands ready to support the reconstruction phase of the Earthquake and is deeply concerned over the delays of the establishment of the National Authority for Reconstruction – the key institution to accelerate reconstruction and help Nepal build back better.

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