Aid agencies prepare 'massive' operations
Humanitarian agencies said yesterday they were preparing a large-scale aid operation to earthquake-ravaged Nepal, with more relief planes arriving in the coming hours.
"This will be a... massive operation," Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman for the UN's World Food Programme, told AFP.
Officials say more than 3,800 people are now known to have died, the overwhelming majority in Nepal -- making it the quake-prone Himalayan nation's deadliest disaster in more than 80 years.
WFP experts arrived in Kathmandu on Sunday to evaluate the situation, and the agency estimates shelter and medical equipment should be the first priority.
The World Health Organization said yesterday it had already distributed medical supplies to cover the health needs of more than 40,000 people for three months in the country.
But with food also expected to quickly run scarce, the UN agency has "mobilised all of our food stocks in the region," Byrs said.
WFP is loading a plane with rations of high energy biscuits in Dubai, and Byrs said it would arrive in Nepal today.
They will be distributed to survivors in the country, taken by truck where possible, but due to the massive destruction, "the relief cargo may need to be airlifted," she added.
The UN refugee agency meanwhile said it was sending nearly 20,000 plastic sheets and some 8,000 solar lamps yesterday.
About half the stocks were already in place in Nepal and the rest were being flown from Dubai to Kathmandu yesterday afternoon on a cargo plane donated by the ruler of the United Arab Emirates, UNHCR said.