Social workers from The Social Work Association of Nepal (SWAN), educators and students are at the frontline of the rescue efforts in Kathmandu. Emailing IFSW, Om Krishna Shrestha, Secretary-General of SWAN wrote:
Right at the moment we are planning for coordinated support to source the relief packages (Psychological first aid with safety and basic needs) to the earthquake victims, planning to mobilize solicited qualified professionals, trained relief workers and collected goods. On top of this, we are doing a preliminary inspection to find the right place where we are needed most. Particularly, where there are shortages of relief supplies, remote and in some cases unreached.
Throughout Nepal social work students are also turning their newly acquired skills and understandings in practical actions. Ms Pradipta Kadambari, from the Nepal Schools of Social Work wrote:
(At Kadambari Memorial College) we have postponed our academic calendar for a month and are involving all of our students in the rescue operations… Today, our students, with one of other organization came back from one of the most affected areas, Kavrepalanchowk where 1110 houses were collapsed affecting 7000 peoples. They need medical attention and food supplies immediately… Other students in Kathmandu are assisting children to diffuse the trauma of earthquake.
‘The social work role in rescue and recovery is crucial’ said Dr. Rory Truell, IFSW Secretary General. ‘Social workers see survivors not victims, we use a strength-based approach and advocate that aid agencies should involve survivors in all decisions that affect them and their futures. People being actively involved in their own recovery speeds up, strengthens and builds their community capacity’, he said.
IFSW will provide regular updates when they are available.
Update 1st May 7:12am
We are coordinating with institutional and individual partners to dispatch the first aid support and carrying out Rapid Needs Assessment at the same time. Today a team of our members visited the disaster zone named Sindhupalchwok with first aid support and carried out rapid assessment there. It reported ninety percent of the houses are destroyed, 875 plus deaths and more than 279 injured. The initial sign of potential threat of diarrhea, fever and malaria are seen due to unhygienic sanitation, frequent rainfall and unorganized settlements. The potential exposure of decayed bodies particularly of animals can boost the threat as, much of the focuses are given only to the human bodies at present. Similarly, our another team went to the Bhaktapur ward number 7 and the observed conditions are much similar. Except the threat of wrath and seize while distributing supports. Support distribution at Bhaktapur was much easier than Sindhupalchowk, as it is one of the development centers that is closer to Kathmandu district and connected with accessible roads to source the relief supplies. Whilst, in Sindhupalchwok, the damaged property is high in ratio, number of deaths is still increasing and, because of the search and rescue operation government has not been able to dispatch the relief supplies in adequate amount, yet.However, we are coordinating with District Administration Office, Police force and Red Cross unit at Sindhupalchwok. A team of social work students from St. Xavier’s College will be mobilized there soon, also individual and institutional supports (first aid, safety and basic needs) will be sourced in and out of the country. Tomorrow we are sending a coordinated team of 12 members to Sindhupalchwok with sizable amount of relief supplies for distribution. However, another team of coordinated support group is heading toward Nuwakot, as well.