Nepal earthquake: Update from the field
Mike was visiting our projects working with girls in Nepal when the earthquake hit. He is now helping with the response. Here’s an update from the field.
Tanya (Plan International UK's chief execuitive) and I were 500km from the epicentre and still felt the earthquake strongly. We were in a three-story building on the roof deck and the building moved from side to side for about two minutes. A bit stronger and it would have collapsed. People were screaming and running out of their houses. Dogs were barking like mad. We were taking shelter under door lintels and once the movement stopped we ran downstairs which is when the aftershock started. Once outside, we immediately contacted colleagues in Kathmandu to account for all staff.
We have now travelled to Hatauda, three hours outside of Kathmandu. We have a Plan office here that is well equipped to organise immediate response in the surrounding communities. Staff from other Plan offices are now diverted to come here first as Kathmandu is increasingly unsafe (after the recent 6.7 magnitude aftershock).
Two lorries with non-food items including blankets are arriving this afternoon from our office in Birgung at the Indian border (south). We are also now sending staff to every place here in Harauda to buy tents for the many people that are camping outside of their homes. Plan will start distribution of items tonight or latest tomorrow.
The destruction gets more and more visible the closer we are getting to Kathmandu. The recent aftershock put people into another panic. While superficially calm, everyone is staying outside, including children of all ages, looking extremely worried as it is unclear if there will be another shock.
The nights here in the mountainous area are quite cold and people are not set up to sleep outside, especially with very young children, including infants. Plan's distribution, including blankets, will be a first outreach which at least allows people not to freeze. Tanya and I are likely going into Kathmandu nevertheless to support our Plan colleagues in the city who have been working for many hours now.
We will continue to update you as the days go on and provide updates on Plan's response to the Nepal earthquake. In the meantime, please help the thousands of people affected by the earthquake and donate to our Nepal Earthquake Appeal.
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