Days of relentless rains, which began on August 11, 2017, have caused extensive flooding and deadly landslides throughout southern Nepal. The rains are the worst the small, disaster-prone, Himalayan country has experienced in 15 years, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
More than 800 people have been killed as a result of the flooding across three countries, including Nepal. Over 1 million people are estimated to be displaced in Nepal, India and Bangladesh. Search and rescue operations continue in Nepal, but access is challenging to more remote and isolated communities, since communication is limited. Flood waters not only damaged and destroyed homes, schools, hospitals, and roads, but also swept away livestock and swamped key agricultural areas, including recently planted rice fields. Specific relief concerns include the lack of potable water, the risk of disease outbreaks, and a shortage of food staples.
Health facilities in the hardest-hit areas are overwhelmed with patients and are running out of essential medications and consumable supplies.
The Nepali government, in close coordination with local district disaster relief committees in more than 35 districts, has requested assistance from national and international non-governmental organizations. Direct Relief has a strong history of providing aid to the people of Nepal, both through the ongoing provision of medical products to partner healthcare facilities and programs, and by responding to emergency situations including the devastating earthquake of April 25, 2015.
Direct Relief Emergency Response team members are currently coordinating with ministry of health and population authorities in Nepal, including the director of the department of health services logistics management division, who forwarded a list of specific needs, and confirmed a willingness to fast-track Direct Relief donations through customs, as well as assist with their secure storage and distribution.
There is an urgent need for anti-infective and anti-parasitic agents, oral rehydration solutions, analgesics, prenatal vitamins, antiseptics, water purification products, IV sets, and surgical masks and gloves. Direct Relief is preparing the requested items that are currently available in inventory for shipment, and is requesting additional items from healthcare company donors.
Direct Relief is also supporting the urgent medical requirements of people affected by the severe flooding in the country’s Terai region by providing an emergency response grant to the nonprofit Mountain Heart Nepal. Founded by young medical professionals in response to the 2015 earthquake, MHN is now conducting emergency medical and surgical outreach camps for flood-affected people, and will be helping to distribute needed medications and supplies to national healthcare system clinics in hard-hit areas.