Red Cross shifts focus to shelter, medical aid to Nepal quake victims

Red Cross shifts focus to shelter, medical aid to Nepal quake victims
Residents walk by damaged buildings in Bungamati village, in the outskirts of Kathmandu on May 8, 2015.

KATHMANDU - The Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS) has so far deployed more than 7,500 volunteers in 14 affected districts in the wake of the devastating Great Earthquake of April 25 and subsequent aftershocks.

In the first few days after the quake, aid workers from the NRCS provided crucial help in first aid, search and rescue efforts, transportation of injured and building temporary shelters.

Till date, the NRCS has distributed 2,032 sets of non-food relief items, 29,588 tarpaulins and family tents, 7,347 blankets, 114,170 oral rehydration salt (ORS), 3,098 hygiene kits and 53,750 masks and gloves.

The NRCS has said its emphasis has now shifted towards providing short-term shelters, medical support and water and orienting people towards sanitation and hygiene.

It is currently operating six field hospitals in disaster zones and has constructed more than 100 "rapid toilets".

Briefing journalists about the works being carried out by NRCS on Friday, Chairman Sanjeev Thapa said, "There are still people out there waiting for relief to come to them."

The International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) and Red Crescent Societies are sending 100,000 additional tarpaulins, medical teams and supplies in the coming days, he added.

"The IFRC is working on restoring family links, dignified management of the dead and first aid," Head of the IFRC delegation to Nepal DraganaKojic said.

Expressing his commitment to assist quake-affected Nepal, she said IFRC would support relevant local authorities in their rehabilitation works.

As of Thursday, NRCS claimed that it had visited 19 hospitals and 11 shelter camps to collect information on missing people and reuniting separated families.

Teams have been sent to Sindhupalchok, Gorkha, Rasuwa, Dhading and Nuwakot to assess the needs for restoring family links.

"We are succeeding in providing support for the victims," Head of Operations at IFRC Martin Faller claimed.

He added that IFRC has launched a massive international exercise to bring in expertise and is working to help make Red Cross impact more comprehensive.

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