UN Gears Offers to Provide Support to Victims of Nepal Earthquake

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United Nations humanitarian aid agencies and partners are currently mounting a large response.

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal at 11:46 on Saturday 26 April 2015 with epicenter in Lamjung District. This was followed by dozens of aftershocks including a 6.7 magnitude earthquake on 26 April 2015, at 12.54 local time. Assessments are still ongoing but according to the Government of Nepal, the death toll has risen to over 4,000 people, with many more injured. The United Nations, humanitarian aid agencies and partners are currently mounting a large response with initial priorities being on search and rescue operations, followed by assistance in the health, logistics, protection, shelter, water sanitation and hygiene, and education sectors.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Joint Environment Unit, UNEP Post Conflict and Disaster Management Branch and UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific have advised of their readiness to support the Government of Nepal as part of the larger United Nations response.

"With great sadness, we have witnessed the devastating effect of the earthquake in Nepal. Our thoughts go out to the many families affected by this tragedy," said UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

Mr. Steiner has already written to the Government of Nepal offering UNEP's support in addressing any secondary risks caused by the earthquake and its after-shocks. UNEP also remains committed to assist the Government of Nepal in the longer term environmental recovery, as part of the larger UN-supported recovery effort, should this be required.

Possible environmental consequences that may pose further hazards to already vulnerable affected communities include effect on possible industrial sites, collapse of sewage systems and ensuing contamination of water sources, landslides and disaster waste. Assessments are currently being mounted and a response will be planned once the results of the assessments come in during the course of the next few days.