22 March 2016
On Sunday 20 March, His Royal Highness Prince Harry visited the Nepal Red Cross Society in Bhaktapur, on one of his first stops of his tour of Nepal. The visit comes ahead of the one year anniversary of the earthquake and aftershocks that killed over 8,800 people and destroyed almost a million homes.
Prince Harry spent time with staff and volunteers from the Nepal Red Cross Society, including those who were involved in the immediate response after the devastating earthquake. He also visited a Nepal Red Cross emergency stock site, to see how volunteers have prepared for future disasters.
Prince Harry was greeted with a garland and a tilak as a sign of respect. After touring the site and hearing about the work of the Nepal Red Cross in preparing for disasters, Prince Harry remarked 'preparedness matters'.
Bhaktapur, 45 minutes from Kathmandu, was one of the worst hit districts. The British Red Cross was already working in the area supporting the Nepal Red Cross Society to help communities prepare for earthquakes. This is funded through a £4.3 million grant from the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID).
Local communities trained in first aid and search and rescue by the Red Cross were a vital part of the response, helping thousands of people after the earthquake hit. Almost 8,000 staff and volunteers from the Nepal Red Cross Society carried out first aid and search and rescue operations. Despite many volunteers’ own homes and businesses being destroyed, or losing family members, they rescued and treated thousands of people. Teams also provided relief items and psychological and emotional support to people caught up in the crisis.
The British Red Cross, of which Prince Harry’s grandmother, Her Majesty the Queen, is patron, continues to work alongside the Nepal Red Cross Society across the three districts of the Kathmandu valley, which are among the most affected by the earthquakes, to help people rebuild their lives.
The British Red Cross launched an emergency appeal on 26 April 2015, the day after the first earthquake hit. The appeal raised over £9.1 million through the incredible generosity and solidarity of the British public.
Mike Adamson, Chief Executive of the British Red Cross, said:
“As we welcome and thank Prince Harry for his visit, we must also thank the British public. Without their constant and valued generosity and commitment to the work of the Red Cross, we would not be able to continue to work with the Nepal Red Cross Society to bring recovery to this beautiful country.
“Our brave colleagues in Nepal put their lives on the line to bring relief to those in dire need, from the moment the earthquake struck. The British Red Cross is immensely proud of their actions and honoured to work alongside them. The preparedness work enabled staff and volunteers to tackle such a huge emergency response in the most efficient and collaborative way possible.”
Dev Ratna Dhakhwa, Secretary General of the Nepal Red Cross Society, said:
“During the devastating earthquakes last year, we lost our homes, we lost family, friends, colleagues, we even lost our places of work. What we didn’t lose was our sense of community. The strength of our dedicated volunteers and courageous neighbours, not only helped save many lives, but has also allowed us to begin to recover, together, from this disaster. This visit from Prince Harry is an honour and an opportunity for us to express our sincerest thanks to all those who helped us and came to our aid when we needed it the most.”
Jill Clements, British Red Cross Nepal Country Manager, said:
“It was an honour to welcome Prince Harry to the Nepal Red Cross Society’s project site in Bhaktapur. It is thanks to this project that the Red Cross was able to help a devastated community at a time of great need. It has been almost a year since the earthquakes which took the lives of so many, including some of our own colleagues. We remember them as we continue to work hard within the community to rebuild what was lost.”
Notes to editors
The Nepal Red Cross Society is the largest humanitarian organisation in Nepal. It is playing a prominent role in helping people in the 14 districts identified as being the worst affected by the disaster.
The British Red Cross helps millions of people in the UK and around the world to prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies, disasters and conflicts. Our volunteers and staff help people in crisis to live independently by providing support at home, mobility aids and transport. We also teach first aid skills. We are part of the global Red Cross and Red Crescent humanitarian network.
We refuse to ignore people in crisis.