GIZ is supporting the German relief effort in Nepal

30.04.2015 – After the devastating earthquake on 25 April, more and more relief supplies and experts are arriving in Nepal. Deploying these resources swiftly and in a coordinated manner is now crucial.

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake was the worst to strike this Asian country for 80 years: according to the latest figures, more than 5,500 people have been killed and 50,000 injured. An estimated 1.4 million people are affected by the disaster. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has been working in Nepal for 40 years on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). GIZ’s 200 local and international project staff in Nepal are all safe and well and have been supporting local people since the earthquake struck, distributing tents, water and blankets obtained in readiness for disasters. GIZ is now utilising its well-established local structures to support the emergency Response.

‘Fortunately, we conducted an earthquake safety check on our offices last year and moved out of premises that were unsafe,’ said Country Director Roland Steurer. ‘As a result, we are fully operational even under the present circumstances.’

The Nepalese-German Health Sector Support Programme (HSSP), which has been active in Nepal for many years, has turned its office into a contact point for German organisations working in the field of health. Work stations and a fully equipped office infrastructure are available here.

In parallel, Nepal’s Ministry of Health has set up a coordination point for the entire international relief effort. As Roland Steurer explained: ‘We are supporting the coordination of relief wherever we can, building on our many years of cooperation with the Ministry. Our well-trained local Health Programme staff are assisting with the planning and coordination of the rescue operations and have begun implementing joint measures on behalf of BMZ.’ The priority now, he said, is to deploy the relief supplies and experts as efficiently as possible as soon as they arrive in Nepal.

The earthquake has destroyed roads and telecommunications throughout Nepal, and this is impeding the rescue operations. One of the priorities, said Roland Steurer, is to reach remote and inaccessible areas in order to identify local needs. As soon as this is possible and more information is available, GIZ will start to provide support to the affected communities. The German Embassy is holding regular information-sharing meetings for the German organisations which have now arrived in Nepal.