WaterAid Press Release For immediate release – 28 April 2015 The international development agency WaterAid today launches an appeal to raise funds to help restore vital water and sanitation services destroyed by a devastating earthquake in Nepal. WaterAid has been working in Nepal since 1987 and much of our work is in Gorkha, the epicentre of the disaster. The district has been devastated and is in urgent need of water, food and medicine. In disaster situations it is crucial that people can access safe water and that human waste is safely disposed of, to prevent outbreaks of diarrhoea, cholera and typhoid that pose a serious risk to survivors. WaterAid’s first priority is to offer immediate assistance in the communities in which we work in Nepal. Our regional team is now assessing the need and teams from Bangladesh, Pakistan and India are on standby to assist. Working with our partner organisations, measures are likely to include the provision of safe water, water purification tablets, emergency sanitation measures and hygiene kits. WaterAid is also planning for long-term rebuilding of water and sanitation services. Even before this crisis, nearly half the country’s population – 13 million people – were without a basic, safe toilet and 3.6 million did not have access to clean water. Some 1,900 children under five die in Nepal each year of diarrhoeal illnesses caused by the lack of safe water, toilets and handwashing with soap. It is likely that in the areas hit by the earthquake, many of the life-saving projects giving people access to safe water and sanitation will have to be rebuilt. Today’s fundraising appeal will assist with the recovery of essential water, sanitation and hygiene services in the weeks and months ahead, as well as in the immediate crisis. Girish Menon, Deputy Chief Executive and director of international programmes for WaterAid, said: “The epicentre of the earthquake was in the Gorkha region where much of WaterAid’s work is concentrated. We have received reports that many communities have been devastated with high levels of destruction in some parts of the region. It is likely that in some communities damaged water and sanitation infrastructure will have to be rebuilt. “Our immediate priority is to work with our partners to assess what is most needed in the communities where we work, and how we can help prevent outbreaks of waterborne diseases including typhoid and cholera. This is likely to include emergency water supplies, hygiene kits, water purification tablets and emergency trenches for sanitation. “We will also assess the long-term implications on water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in the affected communities and plan our long term interventions with our partners and the local communities. “We will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves. Our thoughts are with the Nepalese people at this time.” ENDS Notes to Editors To read more about WaterAid’s appeal please go to: http://www.wateraid.org/uk/news/news/nepal-earthquake WaterAid’s vision is of a world where everyone has access to safe water and sanitation. The international organisation works in 26 countries across Africa, Asia, Central America and the Pacific Region to transform lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation in some of the world’s poorest communities. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 21 million people with safe water and, since 2004, 18 million people with sanitation. For more information, visit www.wateraid.org, follow @WaterAidUK or @WaterAid or @WaterAidPress on Twitter, or visit us on Facebook. Around 1,400 children die every day from diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation. 748 million people are without safe water, or one in 10 in the world. 2.5 billion people are without adequate sanitation, or 39% of the world's population. For more information or to arrange interviews please contact: Fiona Callister, media relations lead, on [email protected] or +44 (0)207 793 5022 Carolynne Wheeler, news manager, on [email protected] or +44 (0)207 793 4485 Suzy Vickers, public relations manager, on [email protected] or +44 (0)207 793 4995, or. Or reach us through [email protected] our after-hours press line on +44 (0)7887 521 552.