Response from UN agencies to flood and landslide victims:UNDP extends support to fly rescue teams Response from UN agencies to flood and landslide victims: UNDP extends its support to fly rescue teams to the site

31 Jul 2007

KATHMANDU, 31 July: The United Nations System in Nepal has responded rapidly to the national crisis caused by flooding across Nepal, and the request of the Government of Nepal for assistance. UNMIN has responded to the Government request to make its helicopters available, and with financial support from UNDP has flown rescue teams including members of the Nepal Army, police, Red Cross, government officials and UN agencies for evacuation, relief and assessment operations.

UNDP is also coordinating with the private sector to facilitate contributions to the overall response. Incessant rainfall since 10 July 2007 has triggered floods and landslides in 28 districts in Nepal. The most affected districts are ' Saptari, Siraha, Dhanusha, Mahottari, Sarlahi, Rautahat, Baglung, Banke, Bardiya, Bajura, and Kailali. As of 30 July 2007, Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS) estimates 57 deaths, 4,000 displaced families, and more that 230,000 people affected across the country.

'The UN System in Nepal stands fully committed to extend all possible assistance to the people of the affected districts who are suffering from the current natural calamity,' said Matthew Kahane, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nepal.

Rescue, relief efforts and rapid needs assessments in the affected districts are being carried out by NRCS district chapters, in coordination and collaboration with local government, security forces, UN agencies and I/NGOs. Food, potable water and temporary shelter have been identified as the major needs. There is a heightened risk of increased mortality and morbidity in the coming weeks and months due to outbreaks of communicable diseases, most importantly acute respiratory infections, diarrhoeal diseases, vector-borne diseases and snake bites.

OCHA has been engaging with the Government, NRCS, Nepal Army, Police, UN agencies and I/NGOs, and supporting coordination structures at all levels, for a coordinated response. In terms of information management, at the regional level, OCHA has facilitated inter-agency assessments of affected areas.

At the central level, OCHA hosts a dedicated section on floods and landslides on the Nepal Information Platform (www.un.org.np) where all relevant reports and meeting minutes are uploaded.

UNFPA has provided food and non-food items to 1,000 flood victims in Mahottari, including medical support to the district hospital and jail. UNFPA's mobile health teams in Dang and Kapilvastu are on alert to go to Banke and Bardiya upon request.

UNICEF has provided emergency supplies, which include water purification tablets as well as flocculent powder to purify water for some 30,000 people in the flood and landslide affected areas in Banke, Bardiya, Dhanusha, Mahottari and Rautahat, and to the landslide affected hilly districts in the Karnali Zone. Also, 6,000 packets of oral rehydration salts have been dispatched to these districts through the NRCS and other partners to address the onset of diarrhoea and dysentery that may arise due to water contamination. UNICEF has also provided non-food items such as tarpaulins, water buckets and blankets for the flood-hit areas from its stock of pre-positioned relief supplies in Kathmandu, Biratnagar, Bharatpur and Nepalgunj.

WFP is ready to immediately respond with humanitarian food assistance for people displaced by flooding across the Terai if the Government requests such assistance. WHO, along with the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division of the Department of Health, are conducting rapid health assessments, introducing post-emergency disease surveillance and requesting members of the Emergency Health and Nutrition Working Group to assist in data collection. Medical supplies have been pre-positioned and new requests are being processed following health assessments.


Contact Information

For more information pls. contact Ram B. Shah, UNIC, 5523200 ext. 1600 or Sangita Khadka, UNDP,
5523200 ext 1077