01 May 2015

THE first supplies have reached The Salvation Army's emergency response team in Nepal, meaning that large-scale distribution can begin. The initial response will be to two devastated communities near Kathmandu.

A team from India arrived on Thursday (30 April) with a delivery of 700 boxes of bottled water, totalling 8,400 litres, and 130 boxes of noodles (almost 6,000 packets). Young volunteers from The Salvation Army in Nepal worked tirelessly to get the goods off the truck and into storage. Bags of rice, lentils, oil and salt were also purchased locally.

In Lalitpur, a district to the south of Kathmandu, 15 families have been identified as having lost everything. Because of their proximity to the Salvation Army response team's base, these families will be first recipients of the newly acquired essentials, with rice, dhal, oil, water and salt being distributed today.

An assessment visit to Bhaktapur, a few miles from Kathmandu, showed even greater devastation. Bhaktapur District is an ancient community which, before the earthquake, contained houses and Hindu temples that more than 1,000 years old. Today, most of them have been reduced to rubble. Search and rescue teams are continuing to work in this area in the hope of finding survivors, but the death toll continues to rise, with many people still unaccounted for.

Fifteen hundred people are currently living in camps in this area, with another camp being established to take further residents. People are taking great risks to recover their belongings from homes that could fall down at any moment, but for many the fear of looting prevents them moving to safety.

Donate hereResearch is continuing into what other support can be given in this and other affected areas that are being identified.

The international Salvation Army continues to support the relief effort in Nepal through generous donations and also through prayer. An initial US$20,000 rapid relief project funded by the USA-based Salvation Army World Services Office (SAWSO) is paying for the purchase and transport of tents, water and blankets for 40 families. The Hong Kong and Macau Territory has agreed to fund a similar project for 1,000 families (around 5,000 people) at a cost of more than US$300,000. A Nepal-focused Worldwide Prayer Meeting included participation from every continent where The Salvation Army has a ministry.

Report by Colonel Carol Telfer

Tags: Emergencies, South Asia