Nepal: Ban sends his condolences after earthquake hits Kathmandu Valley
The United Nations Secretary-General has sent his deepest condolences to the Government of Nepal and to everyone affected by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the country on Saturday.
“The reports of the devastation are still coming in and the numbers of people killed, injured and affected by this earthquake continue to rise,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a statement released by his Spokesperson.
The latest situation report released by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs today, said that Nepal's Government currently reports over 700 deaths with that number expected to rise, and no figures currently available on the total number of people affected.
“It is clear that very many lives have been lost,” said the statement. “There has also been significant damage to Nepal's irreplaceable cultural heritage.”
Nepal's Government also reports that 30 of Nepal's 75 districts were affected, mainly in western and central regions, including the country's two largest cities, Kathmandu and Pokhara. Hospitals in the Kathmandu Valley are overcrowded, running out of room for storing dead bodies and also running short of emergency supplies.
The most affected districts were reported to be Dhading, Gorkha, Rasuwa, Sindhupalchowk, Kavre, Nuwakot, Dolakha, Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, and Ramechhap. UN field offices reported that the eastern region was not badly affected and that the Terrai had been minimally affected.
“On behalf of the United Nations, I thank the first responders in all the affected countries who are working around the clock to save lives,” said the statement. “The United Nations is supporting the Government of Nepal in coordinating international search and rescue operations and is preparing to mount a major relief effort.”
The Government has requested international assistance in the response to the disaster, with particular importance placed on the need search and rescue capacity, medical teams, supplies and tenting for hospitals, heavy equipment for rubble removal and helicopters for transport and access to blocked areas.
The President of the General Assembly, Sam Kutesa, also expressed his deep concern and profound sorrow about the devastating earthquake. He sent his prayers and expresses the sympathy of the family of nations to Government and people of Nepal and all those affected by this disaster.
Mr. Kutesa thanked all countries and entities that have responded to the emergency and he called on Member States and the international community to deploy all possible efforts to urgently assist and support the people and the Government of Nepal in the aftermath of the earthquake.
The Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), Babatunde Osotimehin, also expressed his deepest sympathy to those affected by the earthquake, saying he was “shocked and saddened” by the deaths and disappearance of hundreds of people, as well as the widespread destruction and displacement caused by the disaster.
He added that the UNFPA stood ready to join in international efforts to give assistance to the Government and people of Nepal, expressing particular concern about the fate of pregnant women who have been affected by this tragedy, including those who might face potentially life-threatening complications. All efforts will be exerted to support their safety and the safety of their babies.