1. WHO’s immediate humanitarian response
An earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter Scale has caused heavy damage and reportedly over 2,200 deaths in Nepal and affected over 5 million people.
WHO is mobilizing an urgent response in support of the Ministry of Health (MOH) to meet the humanitarian health needs of those affected by the devastating earthquake in the country For several years, WHO has worked closely with the MOH on its disaster preparedness plan and we are assisting with its urgent implementation.
Within hours of the tragedy, WHO disbursed medical supplies to cover the health needs of more than 40 000 people for three months. These supplies are in the form of inter-agency emergency health kits and were given to hospitals in Nepal treating the injured. The kits, developed by WHO, can also be used for initial supply of primary health care facilities where the normal system of provision has broken down.
The WHO emergency kits disbursed his morning include medicines, disposables and instruments. Each kit has a basic and supplementary unit. It contains non-injectable drugs, medical supplies and some essential equipment, accompanied by simple treatment guidelines. Basic equipment also has a complete sterilization set and items to help provide for clean water at the health facility. The supplementary unit contains drugs, renewable supplies and equipment needed by doctors working in first- or second-referral health facilities.
WHO also immediately made available US$ 175 000 to the Ministry of Health as the first tranche of WHO’s South-East Asia Regional Health Emergency Fund (SEARHEF). The SEARHEF funds are aimed at meeting immediate financial needs and to fill critical gaps in the aftermath of a disaster.
WHO supported the MOH in the activation of its Health Emergency Operations Centre, in a dedicated facility on the grounds of the Ministry. We are also assisting the MOH with rapid assessments of health needs and of the damage to and functioning of health facilities.
In addition to experienced emergency personnel on its current country team, WHO is sending a team of 10 public health and disaster response experts from its regional office and headquarters to reinforce WHO Nepal Office’s support to the Government of Nepal. This support will be in the areas of public health, epidemiology, disease surveillance, logistics, and mental health. WHO will continue to provide additional staff surge capacity as needs are identified.
WHO is responding to offers it has received from almost 15 countries and partners who are willing to send Foreign Medical Teams to support the humanitarian health response in the aftermath of the earthquake in Nepal.
WHO is also supporting the MOH in co-leading the Health Cluster.
2. Urgent humanitarian health needs
Management of casualties and injuries remains the most pressing need in Kathmandu. Hospitals are overwhelmed with casualties, and injuries from collapsed buildings. Doctors are reported to be treating people in the streets.
Urgent needs include the provision of essential medicines and medical supplies, surgical equipment and instruments, mental health care, psycho social support and management of trauma caused by the tragedy.
WHO is currently supporting the Ministry of Health and the ongoing UN wide efforts to continue to assess the health needs of the affected people and the damage to health facilities.
Additional foreign medical teams are needed, especially those with trauma and surgical capacities, who can be self-sufficient in their operations.
- Initial request for financial support
WHO urgently requires US$ 5 million for its ongoing initial humanitarian response to the disaster in Nepal. WHO is currently accepting financial contributions from donors and partners in order to address immediate public health needs.
If you would like to support WHO’s urgent humanitarian health response to the earthquake in Nepal, please contact Ms Cintia Diaz-Herrera (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Mr Faisal Yousaf (email@example.com) for more information.