MAF team responds to second earthquake in Nepal

Published: 14 May 2015

MAF's Disaster Response team are working hard to enable relief organisations to assess the impact of the second earthquake in Nepal's remote areas.

Relief agencies on the ground have had to adjust their plans to see what needs to be done to assist people and communities who were most impacted by the latest quakes. 

Our team are all safe. The hotel, airport and the Fishtail  Air offices where they were working were rocked but none of our team were injured. However, they could see buildings falling all over Kathmandu. A staff member describes dust clouds rising like you see with buildings imploding.

Reaching the epicentre

Home destroyed by Nepal earthquakes. Photo credit: MAF/LuAnne Cadd

We are co-ordinating frequent helicopter flights to get relief groups into the epicentre of this week's big quake. One of these flights took a team with Acted - a French NGO - to a remote village. MAF reporter LuAnne Cadd, who joined the flight, was shocked at what they saw.

Suddenly the destruction took a turn for the worse. Nearly every home lay in a pile of rubble. 

LuAnne Cadd, MAF reporter

View the story and photos from the flight with Acted 

While the first earthquake's epicentre was between the Nepali capital of Kathmandu and Mount Everest, the second one struck near Kodari in Nepal, the US Geological Survey said.  

The need for our helicopter service increases every day and the helicopter teams have been taking off or landing on average every 18 minutes during daylihgt hours.

The stories which return are of great need. stories that there are many remote communities who had not yet received aid following the first earthquake – and now have been hit again. 

Inaccessible by road

One of the organisations we have been working with is a Christian NGO United Vision Nepal (UVN). Usually the brass earthquake alarm in their second-floor office in Kathmandu sounds like a gentle bell when triggered, but it rang uninterrupted for the second round of intense tremors suffered by Nepal in as many weeks. When the tremors started  Daniel from UVN was preparing with two staff members for their fourth and final helicopter flight out to a remote community, taking much-needed tarpaulin, medicine and food. His two female colleagues fled the building screaming.

He said: “The big thing for the Nepalis is the emotional healing from the scarring that they have had. The memory is so fresh in their minds from two weeks ago.”

Daniel said: “Since the earthquake, you can’t walk there now. That’s the reality. There is no way there by foot and the mule trains I don’t think can even make it through and the rivers come and you can’t cross them with the bridges broken down. The only way there is by air, so we are very thankful for MAF.

Watch the full interview with United Vision Nepal

Daniel Juzi, who leads MAF Disaster Response team, warns that the lack of shelter could be serious, particularly with the upcoming monsoon season. With many areas inaccessible by road, there are big challenges in rebuilding homes in time for winter.