Aid travels via India to remote villages hit by Nepal earthquake
May 4, 2015 By Oxfam
An Oxfam truck filled with relief supplies left India on April 30, bound for remote villages in the Gorkha region of Nepal. Photo: Oxfam
Oxfam is trucking supplies across borders to help some hard-to-reach communities.
When a major earthquake struck Nepal on April 25, the damage went far beyond the city of Kathmandu. Many rural parts of the country were affected, too—particularly the Gorkha region, near the epicenter of the quake.
Oxfam aid workers report that in some Gorkha villages, up to 80 percent of houses were destroyed. There are no organized camps set up there, so people are sleeping outside in the chilly and rainy weather.
“This is not sustainable, especially for the sick, elderly, and children,” said Oxfam India’s Andrio Naskar. “Women—especially those who are pregnant or breast-feeding—are desperate for private spaces to wash and bathe, while rudimentary sanitation systems have been wrecked.”
Travel to remote areas of Nepal is difficult at the best of times. Now aid workers face huge challenges trying to reach scattered rural communities on the steep slopes that cover most of the country. These villages are often only accessible via dirt roads, some of which have been blocked by landslides. Nationwide fuel shortages, ongoing heavy rainfall, and congestion at Kathmandu airport add to the difficulty.
To help get aid to people as quickly as possible, Oxfam is trucking supplies into Gorkha through India. Three trucks left Gorkhpur seeking access from India on Thursday, loaded with essential items for those who have lost everything: tarpaulins, foam sheets, water containers, chlorine tablets, and solar-powered lamps. Another two trucks from Kolkata are stocked with water filters and latrine construction materials.
The convoy reached villages in Gorhka yesterday. The trucks may not be able to get to every community directly—the terrain is so rough that some villages can only be reached by foot—but bringing aid by road from India helps get supplies that much closer to the people who need them.
Oxfam aims to reach 430,000 people affected by the earthquake, focusing on clean water, sanitation, and emergency shelter. Yesterday’s delivery is one small piece of the response, but for those who have lost their homes and so much more, it may be a very important one.