HCT activated in disaster-hit areas

Kathmandu, August 16

The Humanitarian Country Team has been activated in Nepal to support response efforts in the aftermath of severe floods that have hit the nation, the office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator said today.

According to a humanitarian update issued by the office, rapid assessments are being conducted in the impacted districts and initial reports show that power and Internet connectivity has been disrupted in some areas and transport infrastructure has been damaged. A major airport located in Biratnagar has been completely inundated.

There are also growing concerns about water-borne diseases and health facilities in at least two districts — Mahottari and Banke. “Anecdotal information from the field indicates that a significant number of pregnant and lactating mothers, disabled and other vulnerable groups are affected,” the update added.

The disaster comes at a time when Nepal is struggling to recover from the 2015 earthquakes. Some five of the 27 affected districts are also earthquake-affected, while four of them were hit by floods last year, the update mentioned.

The UN Resident Coordinator’s office also noted that the impact of the floods could be exacerbated by pre-existing social and economic disparities, with some of the affected districts having the lowest Human Development Index scores in the country.

“Experience from the 2014 floods that affected Banke, Bardiya, Dang and Surkhet districts indicates that in [areas] where malnutrition is already a concern, the onset of such an emergency can have a sudden and severe impact on malnutrition rates,” added the humanitarian note.