The earthquake, which emanated from the districts of Jajarkot and West Rukum, situated 500 kilometres west of Kathmandu, prompted urgent rescue efforts, leading to the deployment of security forces. The tremors were so strong that they were felt in Nepal's capital, Kathmandu, as well as in neighbouring Indian cities.
In the aftermath of a devastating earthquake, local authorities, local civil society organisations, and others, are rallying to provide immediate relief support to those affected. We spoke to some of our members in the affected region, including WOREC, Aawaaj Nepal, and Bhairav Youth Empowerment Centre, about the situation and the relief support efforts.
Members are collaborating with the local government gathering information and overseeing humanitarian support delivery. Aawaaj offers psycho-social counselling services and has three Child-Friendly Spaces (CFS), with three more on the way. Child-Friendly Spaces is a facility where children can learn new skills and cope with difficult situations. They are also assisting in response support at West Rukum in partnership with CACMA (Joint campaign against child marriage network Karnali Province) West Rukum.
WOREC has introduced comprehensive psycho-social counselling services in partnership with the municipality and has expanded assistance to vulnerable populations such as pregnant mothers, people with disabilities, and senior citizens. Dignity kits, blankets, warm clothing, and nutritious food for newborns and children, as well as packages targeted for adolescent girls, were delivered.
Immediate Relief Efforts Underway
The earthquake's impact has been significant, prompting immediate relief efforts in the form of food and tents. However, the region is grappling with a shortage of critical items, including warm clothing, sanitary pads, and personal hygiene products. With winter already underway in Nepal, the need for warm clothing has become even more pressing. There is also a requirement for pregnant women and children to have a healthy, well-balanced diet.
Challenges in Aid Distribution
The local government has set up a one-way system for delivering disaster aid. However, there have been reports about distribution delays and goods being held up at municipal offices, hindering the timely delivery of support to those in need. The most vulnerable populations, who lack road access, are unable to get humanitarian assistance. Additionally, there is no proper phone connection in the affected area.
Caring for At-Risk Populations
Amid the chaos and devastation, there is a heart warming commitment to caring for the most at-risk. Local organisations are striving to establish child-friendly spaces to support children affected by the earthquake. They have deployed dedicated workers, para-counsellors, and psychosocial counsellors, adapting their ongoing projects to provide relief assistance.
A Call for "Back to Home" Reconstruction
One of the primary long-term needs identified by these organisations is the construction of new homes for affected households. This "back to home" initiative aims to help these families re-establish themselves and rebuild their lives. Hundreds of volunteers are needed to build new houses and repair half-damaged houses. And to reintegrate everyone into the afflicted area.
In the time it has taken to read this article 30 girls under the age of 18 have been married
Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18
That is 23 girls every minute
Nearly 1 every 2 seconds