Norway providing an immediate NOK 30 million to help victims of the earthquake in Nepal

Published under: Solberg's Government

Publisher Ministry of Foreign Affairs

'The international community needs to take immediate action. Norway has already announced that we will contribute NOK 30 million to the emergency relief effort,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

'Nearly one thousand people are reported to have died in today's earthquake in Nepal, and even more have been injured. Our thoughts go to all those who have been affected and to the people of Nepal. Many have lost loved ones, and even more have been injured and seen their homes and communities destroyed.

A massive earthquake hit Nepal and the neighbouring countries earlier today. Sources indicated that the epicentre was between the capital Kathmandu and the second largest city, Pokhara. So far, there has been little information from the area around the epicentre, but several buildings in Kathmandu are reported to have collapsed. The earthquake has also set off an avalanche at Base Camp, the starting point for climbing Mount Everest.

'It is important to gain an overview of what is needed so that relief efforts can be started as quickly and effectively as possible. The funding from Norway will be channelled through the UN system and various NGOs. We are following the situation closely and will consider providing more assistance when we know more,' said Mr Brende.

The number of casualties has not yet been confirmed and may be rise. Preliminary reports indicate that nearly a thousand people may have died.

Norway is already one of the largest donors to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). These are funds that the UN and IFRC can draw on immediately when major humanitarian crises arise. The Norwegian Refugee Council's emergency standby roster Norcap has already been asked to assist, and is preparing to deploy a team. The Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection is ready to send personnel through the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) and the EU's Civil Protection Mechanism, but has not yet received a request.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in close contact with the Embassy in Kathmandu and is compiling a list of Norwegian citizens in Nepal. As Norwegians are not obliged to register travel or stays abroad, it is difficult to gain a full overview. The telephone network in Nepal is unstable and the electricity supply is down at times.

Manning at the Foreign Service Response Centre has been increased in response to the many enquires in connection with the earthquake. As far as we know, no Norwegian citizens have been injured or killed, but several have been affected by the earthquake.

Members of the public who are concerned about family or friends in Nepal can contact the Ministry on telephone line: +47 23 95 23 95.