By Sakun Gajurel
WFP has started emergency operations with staff from around the world by providing common services for the entire humanitarian community - from storage facilities to supporting the transportation of not only food but other crucial relief items.
Nepal Earthquake Leaves Behind Devastation
On 25 April at 11:56 am, a destructive earthquake of 7.8 magnitude hit Nepal with the epicentre about 60 km outside the Kathmandu Valley. According to recent news updates, the death toll has risen above 3,000 and another 6,500 have be reported injured. A total of 30 out of 75 districts of the country have been affected, the worst affected are Gorkha, Lamjung, Sindhupalchowk, Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Laltpur districts, across rural and urban areas. The Government has officially declared a state of emergency and asked for international humanitarian assistance.
The impact in Kathmandu includes collapsed buildings and walls, especially historical buildings in the city centre, but overall less damage than what was predicted. In the Kathmandu Valley, hospitals are overcrowded, running out of medicine, doctors and beds for the injured. Nepal’s oldest hospital, Bir Hospital, has been treating people on the street.
The majority of the people are staying outside at night in order to avoid being injured from the aftershocks.
WFP Employee Shares First-Hand Account
I started my Saturday as any other day. I went to buy some groceries with my sister, who was visiting for the day.
I was about to pay my grocery bill, when I felt a slight shake and lights flickering. I said “Earthquake,” and immediately everyone from the store ran out. In those two seconds between feeling the slight vibration and warning people to get outside, the vibration had changed into massive waves that shook the whole country for several minutes.
It was the most difficult three metres I have walked in my life - from the start to the middle of road. It was like trying to walk on a fast-moving rowing boat. As I struggled to reach the middle of the road, I looked around to make sure nothing would fall on us. The walls around the road looked like they were ocean waves; the buildings looked like rubber palaces being punched back and forth. People on the street started crying and crowds gathered, as everyone tried to escape falling buildings.
After the shaking stopped, I returned home to report my status to the UN radio room. I promptly gathered provisional food and clothes and left my house for open space. Aftershocks continued throughout the weekend at roughly one hour intervals. My colleagues and I have been staying at the UN complex to stay together and stay safe.
WFP's Response to Nepal Earthquake
WFP’s specialised emergency teams have arrived into Nepal to support logistics, IT and food needs. Emergency protocols have been activated to support the response to this terrifying disaster. WFP’s teams are already working out of the Relief Hub at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu that includes power, communications facilities, storage space and office buildings. WFP is grateful for support received in setting up this relief hub from UK’s Department for International Development as well as assistance for disaster risk reduction from Australia and other donors who have contributed to food assistance for vulnerable groups in Nepal.
How You Can Help
Please donate today and help lifesaving food reach families who need it the most.
Receive continuous coverage on Nepal's earthquake by following #NepalQuake and WFP's relief efforts on Twitter and Facebook.