"Time of the essence" for Nepal victims says UN in US $415m appeal

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Funding is needed now to overcome huge logistical challenges, OCHA says. Photo: UNDP/Nepal

A $415 million appeal for Nepal's earthquake victims has been announced by the UN amid reports that news is "really bad" from as-yet unreached communities near the epicentre.

The UN's humanitarian coordination agency OCHA launched the appeal and said that "timing remains of the essence" four days after the disaster.

One of the priorities is extending the huge relief operation across the densely populated Kathmandu Valley after more than 5,000 people lost their lives in the 7.8 magnitude earthquake.

Daniel Johnson has more.

The size of the appeal is an indication of the huge task that still lies ahead for humanitarian workers in Nepal.

OCHA, which is coordinating the UN relief effort, says that aid workers are making gradual progress out of the capital Kathmandu, but the logistical challenges remain enormous.

Here's the agency's spokesperson Jens Laerke:

"We are little by little reaching deeper into, if you like, the hinterland of Nepal, closer to the epicentre of the earthquake and the messages that we are getting out from there is that the situation is really bad."

With the start of monsoon season just days away the UN spokesperson said it was crucial that donors stepped in now.

Over the next three months the aim is to help half a million people who remain out in the open because their homes have been damaged or destroyed, and get food aid to 1.4 million people.

Up to 4.2 million people also need emergency health services, medicines, food, drinking water and toilets, OCHA said.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations

Duration: 1'03"




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