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Red Cross races to provide first aid, shelter after Nepal quake

As the death toll from the Nepal earthquake climbs into the thousands, Red Cross teams are racing to support health services already stretched to the breaking point.

Monday April 27, 2015

First aid teams
With hospitals stretched to the limit in Nepal, Red Cross first aid teams are supporting the injured. Photo: IFRC/Carl Whetham

More than 300 trained volunteers are on the ground now, as part of the Nepal Red Cross relief effort.  

Volunteers are assisting the government's search-and-rescue teams and providing first aid those injured. With local hospitals at capacity, first aid may be the only medical care available to many.  

Landslides and powerful aftershocks continue to pose a major threat.  

Australian Red Cross aid worker Ritva Janti reports from Kathmandu: "Narrow roads have hampered the rescue efforts even further as bulldozers have not been able to reach the collapsed buildings, and rescue workers report trying to dig injured out by hands and very limited equipment."  

Australian Red Cross has launched the Nepal Region Earthquake Appeal to provide humanitarian support to those affected. Please donate now.  

Heavy rains are expected in the coming days. So far, Nepal Red Cross has distributed 1,200 tarpaulins to provide emergency shelter for families forced to sleep in the streets.  

Further relief supplies including kitchen equipment, personal hygiene items, safe drinking water and mosquito nets are also being dispatched.  

International Red Cross teams, including an Australian shelter specialist, are on their way to Nepal to offer further assistance.  

Red Cross workers killed in quake
Tragically, Nepal Red Cross has reported that one of its staff members and two volunteers were killed in Kathmandu and the fate of others in villages closer to the quake's epicentre remains unknown.  

Relief efforts in other countries
Casualties from the Nepal earthquake have been reported in India, Tibet Bangladesh and along the Nepal-China border.   Red Cross Society of China is organising relief items including tents, quilts and clothing for those affected in Tibet, while Indian Red Cross is supporting government disaster response teams.