Last weekend’s earthquake in Ecuador has again focused attention on the mounting need for emergency relief and disaster preparedness measures in the Americas and around the globe. Malteser International Americas, the Miami-based affiliate of the global humanitarian organization, Malteser International, is using their expert knowledge and resources to help survivors Ecuador. And one year ago they answered the call for help following the two earthquakes in Nepal.
One Nepalese survivor helped because of American support is Dhana Bahadur Shrestha, a former soldier in the Nepalese army. The devastating earthquake not only injured him physically, but also threatened to destroy his livelihood.
“During a disaster, Malteser International Americas is to committed helping people like Dhana in their greatest time in need. Earthquake survivors, whether it is in Nepal, Ecuador or Haiti, all need one things and that is life-saving relief to ensure their livelihood during this critical period,” said Ravi Tripptrap, Executive Director, Malteser International Americas. “Our reach in North America, Latin America and the Caribbean allows us to provide the resources and funding needed during devastating disasters throughout the world.”
Following the Nepal earthquakes, Malteser International Americas rolled out the Nepal Earthquake Relief program to save lives as well as to reduce the vulnerability of people affected by the earthquake. The main goal was to ensure that the vulnerability of the affected population was reduced through access to life saving medical services and the provision of urgently needed relief goods.
Malteser International Americas was able to support Malteser International by securing private foundation funding. These resources help to provide more than 18,000 survivors with emergency health, hygiene, shelter and family and food kits.
In Nepal, Malteser International Americas was able to:
– provide lifesaving medical intervention through a small technical health team and local health provider
-provide essential medical equipment and supplies
-distribute relief goods such as food baskets and hygiene kits
-provide temporary shelter to help prevent disease outbreaks and prevent further vulnerability including winterization and engineering support
Please click here to view a short film on the work Malteser International Americas has helped support in Nepal.
Nepal will need several more years of intensive international aid in order to make a full recovery. As a first step in this process, Malteser International is developing a comprehensive rebuilding program for the coming three years. As well as the reconstruction of houses, its focus will be on providing health, clean water, and protection from future disasters.
“Nepal is the poorest country in South Asia. The people in the mountain regions especially, where in some cases almost 95 per cent of all houses were destroyed, have little or no money to make a new beginning. They are still living in tents and temporary shelters, with extremely limited facilities,” said Arno Coerver, Malteser International’s Country Coordinator in Nepal.
The humanitarian organization will continue working in the districts of Sindhupalchok, Kavre and Nuwakot – north and east of Kathmandu, where it is planning to build three health posts in remote and isolated areas. One of these will be a bricks and mortar replacement for the tent-based Basic Health Unit, or BHU, that the organization established at Lamosanghu, near to the Chinese border, in cooperation with the Kathmandu University teaching hospital at Dhulikhel.
“Since the earthquake, the BHU has treated almost 9,000 patients, and it has become an indispensable asset to the local community,” said Coerver. “Immediately after the earthquake, we were treating patients with injuries, or sicknesses caused by the disaster and its effects, and the people are still coming to us with their problems even now.”
The need for relief continues. The mental trauma caused by the earthquake continues to be amongst the most serious of these problems. “As a rule, between 30-50 per cent of the people affected by a disaster like this develop severe trauma. Official estimates suggest that less than a third of those people suffering from trauma in Nepal have received psychological help,” said Arno Coerver.
Malteser International has helped more than 92,000 people to make a new beginning after the earthquake. More than 70,000 people have received aid material including food, hygiene kits, and tarpaulins, as well as winter relief material like clothing, stoves and insulation material.
Almost 12,000 people have been able to build temporary shelters using building material provided by Malteser International, while around 800 people without the ability to build a shelter for themselves – including the old and the sick – received a new house constructed by Malteser International.
Malteser International has been active in Nepal since 2012. Its staff were en route to the disaster zone within hours of the devastating earthquake on April 25th 2015, which cost 8,699 people their lives, wounded more than 22,000 and left around 2.8 million homeless.
Malteser International Americas is a global humanitarian organization with a mission of supporting the vulnerable and marginalized so that they may live a healthy life with dignity. Through our U.S. headquarters, Malteser International Americas provides immediate disaster response and preparedness as well as vital healthcare and nutrition to vulnerable people in North America, Latin America and the Caribbean.
We are part of Malteser International, the humanitarian relief agency of the Order of Malta. With more than 100 projects annually in some 25 countries worldwide, we provide emergency relief after disasters and support recovery efforts, bridging the gap between humanitarian aid and sustainable development. For nearly 60 years, we have been standing by those affected by poverty, disease, conflict and disaster.