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Nepal: International aid response hampered by aftershocks

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Nepal: International aid response hampered by aftershocks


Offers of help are pouring in as countries scramble to respond to the disaster:

  • India has flown in medical supplies and members of its National Disaster Response Force
  • Pakistan is sending four C-130 aircraft with a 30-bed hospital and search and rescue teams
  • The US says military aircraft with 70 personnel left for the quake-struck country on Sunday
  • Australia is sending a specialist urban rescue team at Nepal’s request
  • Britain is delivering supplies, medics and search and rescue teams

But while some international supplies and rescue teams have got through, many aid flights have been prevented from landing by aftershocks at Kathmandu airport.

Inadequate medical infrastructure

The deadly earthquake has underlined the inadequacies of Nepal’s medical facilities. The country has only 2.1 doctors and 50 hospital beds for every 10,000 people according to the World Health Organisation.

Israel which is sending tons of medical supplies is also due to set up one of several field hospitals being offered.

But there are fears the number of casualties will rise, according to Matt Darvas who is a coordinator for World Vision’s earthquake emergency response team:

“There could well be entire villages gone that we have not heard of, that is not uncommon here, for landslides to completely cover an entire village. It is unbelievably difficult, at the best of times these villages are very hard to access.”

Some villages have had to be left to fend for themselves until rescue teams can reach them and with bad weather forecast the priority for many will be food and shelter.

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