Aid workers say thousands of Nepalese families will soon have received emergency relief from the British Jewish community after an appeal raised over £250,000.
London-based project worker Josh Simons, from World Jewish Relief, this week spoke to Jewish News from a remote village high above the capital Kathmandu, only ten days after a devastating earthquake killed 7,400 people and less than two weeks before monsoon rains were due to hit.
“If we’re not prepared for it, there will be a second humanitarian disaster,” he said, visiting some of the two million people are now living in flimsy tents across the mountainous country.
The earthquake affected many different parts of Nepal, and it has affected people in many different ways by the earthquake,” said Simons, WJR’s senior programmes manager, speaking from Sundrawati in Dolakha District, north-west of the capital and close to the Tibetan border.
Safe shelter, however, was top of the WJR priority list, especially in rural upland areas. “Their homes are mostly made from traditional construction, so rocks, then mud brick, plastered together with mud under tin roofs, perhaps with a bamboo pole supporting a porch structure off to the side,” he said. “Almost all of them have either partially or fully collapsed.”
The UN estimates that eight million people are in dire need of basic supplies, the most pressing of which is food. However, with less than two weeks to go before this year’s early monsoon rains, aid agencies have other worries too.
“Our first priority is to help them set up safe shelters,” said Simons. “Our second priority is hygiene and safe drinking water, because as soon as it starts raining, with these communities all living outside in temporary accommodation, the threat of disease is incredibly high.”
By Wednesday, World Jewish Relief had raised over £250,000, with the hope that this would top £300,000 by the end of the week.