Nepal earthquake: Handicap International marks first full week of emergency response
More than 70 Handicap International staff members are providing immediate care to people injured in the earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25. The organization, present in Nepal since 2001, is planning to help transport humanitarian aid to each of the districts affected by the earthquake.
Over the past week, Handicap International has been working in four hospitals in Kathmandu and has recorded the details of hundreds of people to ensure they are monitored in the days, weeks and months to come. The organization has been assessing the physical rehabilitation needs of people with injuries, distributing wheelchairs, crutches, braces and orthopedic equipment, directing patients to additional services, or referring them to other facilities. Handicap International staff will be offering psychosocial support and post-operative care to patients who underwent surgery, and been providing the injured with follow-up care to limit the development of long-term disabilities.
Handicap International has flown humanitarian equipment to Nepal, and is currently identifying priority areas for intervention. The organization will soon deploy its mobile teams to aid disaster victims in isolated regions, where it will immediately distribute essential equipment, including emergency kits, basic kits containing tents and blankets, and hygiene kits.
In light of the difficulties of transporting humanitarian aid to earthquake victims, Handicap International is preparing to launch a logistics base that all aid operators may rely on to make it easier to transport equipment and humanitarian goods to each of the affected districts.
“Setting up and coordinating a logistics platform to transport humanitarian aid to all earthquake-affected districts is a top priority for Handicap International,” explains Hélène Robin, head of emergency action. “It’s also a way of guaranteeing that the most vulnerable people affected by the earthquake have access to aid, and that people living in isolated areas, people with disabilities and older people, for example, aren’t forgotten.”
Handicap International, which has more than 50 permanent staff in Nepal, now supported by an additional 20 emergency specialists who have been arriving in the country since the start of the disaster. Teams were operational within three hours of the disaster, making the organization one of the first humanitarian actors to supply immediate aid to the injured. Handicap International has been active in Nepal for 15 years, working particularly in the country’s five rehabilitation centers, and has been actively involved in natural disaster risk preparation and earthquake contingency planning.
The organization has extensive experience providing aid to earthquake victims all over the world, including thousands of Haitians injured in the 2010 earthquake. Handicap International’s expertise in rehabilitation care for fractures and spinal injuries, emergency orthopedic fitting, and the fitting and supply of prostheses to amputees will be a crucial component of Nepal’s recovery.
Official reports tally more than 6,600 deaths as a result of last week’s earthquake in Nepal, and more than 14,000 injuries. The disaster has affected more than 8 million people.
Handicap International has launched a fundraising appeal in aid of the victims of the earthquake in Nepal. Readers can contribute to relief efforts by making a credit card donation or a gift via PayPal.