Nepal: Emergency Assistance to Earthquake Survivors – Preparing to distribute relief supplies to mountainous regions yet to receive aid

The first emergency response team (Noriyasu OKAYAMA and Fukuro KAKIZAWA) of AAR Japan has been operating in Nepal since April 29th, providing relief assistance to earthquake victims.

Our field assessment revealed that mountainous regions such as the Gorkha District and the Sindhupalchowk District were devastated by the earthquake. Relief assistance for these areas had been delayed due to difficult access. AAR Japan decided to distribute emergency relief supplies to these areas, and has been procuring goods and arranging logistics to do so.
The following report is the latest update from Nepal.
A parent and a child take refuge in a tent in an open space. Only part of the roof is covered with a tarpaulin and they are sitting directly on the ground (Kathmandu, May 1st, 2015)

The mountainous regions yet to receive aid

In the city of Kathmandu, electricity has been gradually restored and some stores have reopened. The number of people living in tents in open spaces has slowly decreased. However, many people still choose to take refuge outdoors even though their houses survived the earthquake of April 25th. This is because the houses are so old that they fear that they could fall down at any moment in the instance of an aftershock.

The situation in the mountainous regions is more severe. More than 90% of the houses had collapsed in the Gorkha District. Tents and food supplies are starting to arrive in villages along the main paved road and the district government office. However, little support has actually reached the remote villages located deeper in the mountains, even though people come to assess the areas. This is because it is impossible for vehicles to reach them. A magnitude 5 aftershock and occasional rainfall on May 2nd are keeping conditions extremely difficult.

AAR Japan’s Fukuro KAKIZAWA (pictured on the left) searches from store to store for procurement of relief supplies (Kathmandu, May 1st, 2015)
AAR Japan has been cooperating with the local government, the United Nations and other NGOs to conduct an assessment regarding the extent of damage and the needs on the ground. Based on the results of the assessment, we have started procuring supplies and making logistical arrangements. Today, on May 3rd, the second group of our emergency relief team, Chiaki FURUKAWA and Natsuki MATSUMOTO, are arriving in Kathmandu. The team plans to distribute relief supplies in Gorkha District tomorrow and make final adjustments before full-scale distribution.

A week has passed since the earthquake,and assistance from national governments and international organizations such as NGOs are reaching Nepal. However, as the extent of the damage is so extensive, the current levels of aid are still insufficient. Your continued support will be highly appreciated.

AAR Japan’s Noriyasu OKAYAMA (right) who had worked in Nepal as an expatriate before. He conducted market research with local staff in the Nepalese language (Kathmandu, May 1st, 2015)
A playground used as a camp for evacuees. Most of the tents are simply covered with tarpaulins (Kathmandu, May 1st, 2015)

There are many old buildings in the old town of Kathmandu. Families whose houses survived the earthquake on May 25th constantly fear for recurring aftershocks (May 1st, 2015)

Children playing in the old city of Kathmandu (Kathmandu, May 1st, 2015)

*This project has been supported by the generous donations made to AAR Japan and grants from Japan Platform (JPF).

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Noriyasu OKAYAMA
OKAYAMA has engaged in assistance for persons with disabilities in AAR Japan Laos Office since June, 2004. He was also involved in emergency assistance for Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013 and a flood in Cambodia in 2011. He has also worked in Nepal as an expatriate before joining AAR Japan. (profile as of the date of the article)
Japanese-English translation by Ms. Yukari Onda
English editing by Ms. Alice Chee

This article has been translated by volunteers as part of the AAR Japan's Volunteer Programme. Their generous contributions allow us to spread our activities and ideas globally, through an ever-growing selection of our reports from the field.