UK aid groups providing practical support after devastating quake claims lives of thousands
British aid agencies have mobilised with practical support to help victims of the Nepalise earthquake which is estimated to have claimed the lives of up to 3,000 people.
The quake is the worst to hit the region in 80 years with more than six million people living within 100 kilometres of the epicentre being affected.
Oxfam, Christian Aid, Save the Children, the British Red Cross and Plan International UK have all confirmed they are assessing the humanitarian need in the disaster struck area.
Since the disaster hit, Nepal Red Cross volunteers have been searching for survivors through the rubble of collapsed buildings.
They are also providing first aid to those injured by the earthquake.
And with so many casualties, the organisation’s solar-powered blood bank in Kathmandu is providing life-saving support.
People are now sleeping out in the open, too scared to return home - Alexander Matheou
Built recently – for just these kind of circumstances – it is providing vital blood supplies to medical facilities in the capital.
Alexander Matheou, British Red Cross director of programmes, said: “The impact of this powerful earthquake has been devastating.
“People are now sleeping out in the open, too scared to return home while the aftershocks go on. Some have no home to return to.”
He added: “Search and rescue efforts are continuing, but some roads, especially in areas near the epicentre, have been damaged or blocked by landslides or rubble. We are extremely worried about these communities.”
Christian Aid's regional emergency manager Ram Kishan said its partners were en route to establish where need is greatest, so that they can respond quickly and effectively.
"It's clear from what has emerged so far that there is an urgent need for emergency shelters, food and clean drinking water, warm clothing blankets and hygiene kits," said Kishan.
Tanya Barron, chief executive of Plan International UK, who is in eastern Nepal on a scheduled visit, felt the quake first hand.
She said: "It was very scary. Our colleagues advised us that the quake felt much stronger than usual.
"We are safe and now we are working with our colleagues to respond. There are crowds of people on the streets here and the hospitals are already overwhelmed.
"Our immediate priorities are to assist the emergency services with search and rescue and to establish shelter."
Oxfam also has teams in Nepal already assessing the humanitarian need and a team of technical experts preparing to fly from the UK with supplies to provide clean water, sanitation and emergency food supplies.
Five junior Scottish Fire and Rescue Service officers from Aberdeen are to be deployed to the area to help with the recovery operation as part of the International Search and Rescue Service.