The devastating earthquake that hit Nepal on Saturday 25 April has already claimed thousands of lives, displaced many more thousands, and caused substantial damage across the region. The UN estimates that 4.6 million people were affected by the earthquake in Nepal - one of the poorest countries in the world. Many regions close to the epicentre have been cut off from the outside world. Currently more than 4,000 people are known to have been killed but government estimates are as high as 10,000.
Swiss Re Foundation's instant relief support
In response to this tragedy, Swiss Re Foundation is donating CHF 250,000 to support the instant relief efforts in Nepal. The donations will be split between Swiss Red Cross (SRC) and Save the Children, who we already partner with in the affected region.
The Swiss Red Cross will be responsible for the worldwide Red Cross / Red Crescent logistics in Nepal with logistics teams on site over the next three to four months to help with inventory management, transporting and distribution of relief supplies. The Emergency Response team will manage the arrival of large amounts of relief goods sent from Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies from all over the world. For the time being the focus is on first aid, healthcare and emergency shelters. The first SRC Emergency Response Unit Team consisting of six logistics experts is flying to Nepal today.
Health is of the essence when responding to an emergency like the earthquake in Nepal. The number of casualties is overwhelming and exceeds the capacity of the local health centres and hospitals. Related to Swiss Re Foundation's earlier programme support (see below), Save the Children has deployed the Emergency Health Unit addressing gaps and supporting the local health units. Save the Children’s interventions will include: supporting existing health systems with materials and training; communicable disease management; supplementary and/or therapeutic feeding; Infant and Young Child Feeding support.
Contributing to the rebuilding efforts
As Nepal and aid organisations look to rebuild the areas that have been devastated, the Swiss Re Foundation invites Swiss Re employees to donate towards these long-term rebuilding efforts via our newly established internal fundraising platform.
Our disaster risk reduction efforts in Nepal
Already recognising that Nepal is one of the most vulnerable regions to earthquakes, the Swiss Re Foundation initiated a programme with Save the Children in November 2013 to help increase the resilience of Kathmandu Valley's health system in the event of a high-intensity earthquake such as the one experienced on Saturday.
We hope that this disaster risk reduction programme has had a positive impact in helping prepare the local communities in Kathmandu respond to this earthquake and its aftermath. While our immediate concern is to help the aid and rebuilding efforts in Nepal, at a later date we would also like to be able to assess the effectiveness of our earlier support programme and report back.
You can read more about this project here.