(This information is provided by AA International, our Emergency Assistance Provider).
A 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit approximately 80km east of Pokhara in Nepal on 25 April. The earthquake was recorded at a depth of 31km. Infrastructural damage has been reported in Nepal's capital, Kathmandu, which is located approximately 80km from the epicentre of the quake. It is Nepal's most deadly disaster of its kind since 1934, when 8,500 died. Another 66 were killed across the border in India and at least another 20 in Tibet.
The number of people killed by Nepal's devastating earthquake has risen to 3,218, as thousands of sick and wounded spent a second night in the open.
Mass cremations are continuing in the capital, where people are also queuing for water dispensed from the back of trucks and those shops still open have next to nothing on their shelves.
Meanwhile, hundreds of foreign and Nepalese climbers remained trapped in the Himalayas after a huge avalanche triggered by the quake ripped through a base camp for climbers.
Up to 70% of houses in rural areas have reportedly been destroyed close to the 7.8-magnitude earthquake's epicentre in Gorkha. Efforts to dig victims out from under the rubble of collapsed buildings in Kathmandu are also continuing.
Initial reports suggest that many communities - especially those close to mountainsides - suffered significant quake damage. Villages in the mountainous region are routinely affected by landslides, and it's not uncommon for entire villages of 200, 300, up to 1,000 people to be completely buried by rock falls.
Health services are overwhelmed and are struggling to deal with the scale of the disaster. In addition, parts of the country are being affected by load shedding (electricity blackouts) for up to 12 hours a day while communication networks (mobile phone and internet) are experiencing periodic cuts.
The earthquake, the most severe in approximately 80 years, and its aftermath are likely to continue to impact on the country over the near-term at least. Further aftershocks should be expected. Disruptions to road travel, power supply and communications services are also unlikely to be restored imminently. While the major airports in the country are operating, increased demand for flights will hamper attempts to depart. Road traffic into neighbouring countries is also likely to be heavy as foreign nationals withdraw, the wounded are transferred to hospitals abroad and humanitarian relief convoys enter the country.
Clients should consider deferring travel to Nepal until the situation stabilises. Persons in the country should contact their security provider for regular updates and for assistance should they require evacuation. Personnel remaining in Nepal should follow the directives of the local authorities. Persons should only enter buildings that have been given the all-clear by local authorities. In the absence of official clearance, structures recently damaged by the earthquakes should not be accessed. Where possible, communication devices, including mobile and satellite phones and computers, should be kept fully powered at all times. Fuel and other essential requirements, including water and food, should be accessed when available and stored. Caution is advised while driving on all roads and in mountainous regions due to recent damage to road infrastructure and the threat of avalanches, respectively.
Following the earthquake in Nepal, a few of our clients have been affected with numerous travellers stranded on ground at Kathmandu and some at hiking sites at the Himalaya region with no lodging available and have lost their personal belongings.
We are currently on standby and is actively coordinating all air resources for evacuation. We have been constantly providing logistical and advisory support to our partners, clients and members who are affected by the earthquake. Intelligence reports are sent on a regular basis providing up to date incident reports, analysis and advice as well.
About AA International
AA International is Asia’s leading provider of local and international medical & security assistance, automobile and outsourced contact centre industry.
AA International was recently involved in an evacuation from Liberia. The evacuation was initiated due to the devastating outbreak of the Ebola Virus, which has to date claimed over 2,000 lives and Liberia has been worst hit. AAI offers a service to eliminate risk for travellers and expatriates to the highest level and it was deemed that the risk was too high for the expatriates in country to remain in Liberia. Continual crisis management support is being provided to the clients, so that they are able to provide duty of care to the remaining local staff and also to the repatriated staff in the form of advice to ensure social responsibility by self-quarantining and the provision of daily medical checks to check for any possible signs of the deadly virus.
About GlobalHealth Asia
Headquartered in Hong Kong, GlobalHealth Asia serves individuals, families and companies of all sizes across Asia and around the world. GlobalHealth believes that international benefits provided with a local presence in Asia ensures the best mix of cover and service. With offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Ho Chi Minh and Singapore, GlobalHealth has built a reputation for providing excellent cover at affordable premiums.