By Ray O’Hanlon
Irish aid agency GOAL has joined relief agencies from around the world in the earthquake-devastated regions of Nepal.
GOAL teams on the ground in Nepal are rushing emergency supplies to some of the worst-affected regions around the capital, Kathmandu, following Saturday’s devastating earthquake, said a release from the agency which has offices in Dublin and New York.
With eighty to ninety percent of towns and villages destroyed in many of these remote areas, concern continues to rise for survivors who have yet to receive any form of humanitarian assistance, GOAL said.
“GOAL is now moving essential provisions such as emergency relief kits, shelter materials and hygiene kits into these areas as rapidly as possible,” said GOAL’s Emergency Coordinator, Darren Hanniffy who is in Nepal.
“These villages are extremely difficult to access and spread across a vast geographical landscape so logistics and distribution will be our biggest challenge. We are drawing on the assets of GOAL’s operation in India to circumnavigate the log-jam in Kathmandu by bringing supplies over the border from India and into these areas.
“We need to reach these people as quickly as possible. While the situation in Kathmandu remains extremely serious, people there are currently being reached with aid; the same cannot be said for those stranded in outlying villages.”
The death toll in Nepal now stands at more than 5,000, while more than 10,000 people have been injured. There are warnings that the number of deaths could rise to more than 10,000 once rescue teams reach remote regions.
The UN estimates that as many as eight million of Nepal’s 28 million people have had their lives disrupted by the earthquake. The 7.9-magnitute temblor, which struck less than 50 miles from Kathmandu has destroyed homes, temples and other buildings.
“The earthquake epicenter is in a densely populated area in Gandaki, near Pokhara. Major structures have collapsed and there are gaping cracks in roads. Hospitals are overwhelmed in this already impoverished nation,” said GOAL CEO Barry Andrews.
“This is the worst natural disaster to hit Nepal in 81 years,” he said.
Those who wish to donate to GOAL’s Nepal Earthquake relief effort can do so by visiting the GOAL website at www.goalglobal.org.