The first aid workers from Malteser International, the Worldwide Relief Agency of the Order of Malta, are on their way to Nepal. An assessment team was dispatched to the region on Sunday morning. On the scene, they will be able to form an overview of the situation and begin setting in motion the first emergency relief measures. The Nepalese government has declared a state of emergency and called for international assistance.
“The people in Nepal need urgent help. Medical infrastructure on the ground has been overwhelmed: the hospitals are overflowing and they need medications and dressings. Some people are digging in the rubble with their bare hands. Communication on the ground is difficult and mobile phones are barely functioning,” says Oliver Hochedez, Malteser International’s Emergency Relief Coordinator. As of yet, there is almost no information on the effects of the tremor from outside of the capital.
By Sunday morning, the official death toll from Nepalese authorities was more than 2,000. This figure is expected to rise even further. A large aftershock of magnitude 6.7 was reported in the region on Sunday at around 7am UTC.
The earthquake which struck Nepal on Saturday morning was of magnitude 7.8 and was also felt in the surrounding countries of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The epicentre of the tremor was around 80 km distant from the capital city Kathmandu.
Malteser International has had ongoing projects in Nepal since September 2012.