The International Committee of the Red Cross, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and Nepal Red Cross Society have reiterated the Red Cross Movement’s commitment to addressing local needs of those affected by war, conflict or disaster in an effective manner.
A joint press release issued by the movement, coinciding with the fifth anniversary of the 25 April 2015 Gorkha earthquake, states, “We have been combating the rise in road accidents, natural disasters such as floods, tornadoes and windstorms. At present we are facing COVID-19 pandemic. Each disaster affects people but it is explicitly known that its effects are not felt the same way among communities, so that the way it is addressed cannot be the same.”
According to the movement, the memories of the deadly earthquake are still fresh and rapid spread of COVID-19 has scared people even more. People in Nepal are also living under lockdown in a bid to control the spread of the virus.
Over 6,530 private houses were constructed, using an owner-driven approach for which the Red Cross supported 7,300 families with cash grant of 2,078 million rupees. Likewise, 80,641 families were provided with access to safe drinking water, and cash grant support was provided to 33,300 families in order to strengthen their livelihood.
With the lessons learned from the earthquake response, NRCS has been working more effectively in each subsequent disaster, and at present, it has mobilised its nationwide units and volunteers in COVID-19 response, the joint release read.
The Red Cross is also providing support to restore family links and fulfilling other needs in prisons and quarantine sites. Aiming to support more in future at the local level, an integrated NRCS COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan is in drafting process which comprises of health, sanitation and hygiene, psychological support, risk communication as well as protection and gender-based issues. “Our priorities at present, as always, are with the most vulnerable communities. We pay our tribute to the health workers, security personnel, drivers, staffers of the blood transfusion centre and health services, blood donor volunteers and journalists including all the Red Cross workers and supporters from NRCS at all levels who have assisted tirelessly by standing in the frontline either during the time of earthquake or today as part of the current COVID-19 preparedness and response efforts,” it said.
The movement said that it was analysing the complexities that might arise due to the present global crisis. “We are also together in anticipation of disaster preparedness since the monsoon season is approaching. We would like to appeal to all to join hands for the continuation of humanitarian services from all the corners,” read the joint release.