At approximately 2 a.m. EDT, Saturday, April 25, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake occurred in Nepal, in an area between the capitol city of Kathmandu and the city of Pokhara, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Tremors and aftershocks were felt across the region in India, Bangladesh, Tibet and on Mount Everest. Drawing on information received less than 12 hours after the earthquake occured, here is what we know about damages and needs, key responders in numerous capacities, and calls to action that have been issued so far. This report was prepared by CDP’s Anna Hurt, Disaster Management Analyst. Please send your updates and situation reports to her. She can be reached at anna.hurt@disasterphilanthropy.org. Also, please check our Facebook page and Twitter feed for updates.

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Photo courtesy of BBC News.

OVERVIEW

Early estimates indicate that more than 1,400 people have died in the earthquake, and that more than 2,000 have been injured. That estimate is expected to rise, as responders believe that thousands remain trapped in debris and tumbled buildings. About 6.2 million people live within 100 kilometers of the epicenter. A number of historic buildings have been destroyed, including the Dharahara Tower, with many feared trapped in its ruins. Mobile phone service and other avenues of communication are not fully functional at this time. Food and water supply is also nonexistent. Damage to Kathmandu Airport could hinder full relief operations. Deaths have been reported from widespread tremors in the region, including in India and Bangladesh. Aftershocks are expected to continue to occur in affected areas during the next 24-48 hours.

RESPONSES AND SHORTFALLS

The current response is rescue focused. Responders are digging through debris to reach those trapped and provide medical care. Hospitals are flooded with patients. Immediate responses will also include temporary shelters, food, water, and hygiene items.

iNGO RESPONSE

International nongovernmental organizations in the area are currently working to assess damages with local partners and determine the best locations from which to launch rescue and relief efforts. Their highest priority in the first 12 hours has been confirming the safety of their staff in this area, and many relief workers in the area remain unaccounted for.       As noted above, there was damage to the Kathmandu Airport that could hinder some relief efforts. Teams are working to assess land routes into the area, and nearby locations in India with small airports will likely be used to drop relief teams into the damaged area. We will update this information as iNGOs work to get their teams on the ground.

Multi-lateral government agencies are also organizing a response.

PRIVATE FUNDER RESPONSE

No private funder response to report in the first 12 hours. Some organizations are responding in other ways – Google has launched their person finder.

People try to free a man from the rubble of a destroyed building after an earthquake hit Nepal, in Katmandu, Nepal, 25 April 2015. Narendra Shrestha:European Pressphoto Agency
People try to free a man from the rubble of a destroyed building after an earthquake hit Nepal. (Photo by Narendra Shrestha, European Pressphoto Agency)

NEEDS

There are a number of immediate needs

  • Rescue — Organizations with the capability to respond to rescue efforts need support to get staff and search animals into the area, as well as applicable supplies for those teams.
  • Shelter, food and hygiene – With buildings destroyed and water supply interrupted, support to iNGOs bringing basic needs items is crucial.
  • Medical Care – There are many casualties and injuries, and numbers are expected to increase in the coming days. Continued medical care and staff will be crucial.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR

The following recommendations would be made:

  • Fund organizations working in the areas listed above.
  • Advocate for private funders to respond to these crucial needs.
  • Inform funders that initial response is important, but long-term response will be a key element to recovery.

Center for Disaster Philanthropy Nepal Earthquake Recovery Fund

We have set up a Fund for future recovery needs. You can read about the Fund here.