Soldiers have been dispatched to assist first responders in the search for survivors, according to news reports. Teams trying to deliver much-needed supplies are struggling to reach the area. Rain and landslides have left many roads in the area impassable.
The earthquake occurred at 4:30 p.m. local time, and a BGR assessment team left for the disaster zone by 10:30 p.m. They drove overnight and by 8:30 a.m. had made contact with other responders.
"BGR-trained national personnel are in the affected area, assessing the needs of those impacted by the earthquake," Pat Melancon, BGR's managing director for disaster response, said. "Many of the roads into the affected area are blocked and downpours make the relief effort hazardous due to landslides from loosened earth from the quake. The assessments will focus upon the four life-saving sectors: water, shelter, food and health-related issues."
The earthquake was the strongest to hit the mountainous area in at least 14 years. BGR partners responded to two other earthquakes in the vicinity in September 2012 and April 2014. Most of the mud-brick homes may have crumbled in the quake, but the assessment team is praying they will find some villages where homes have been spared.
Mark Kelly writes for Baptist Global Response, which will be posting updates on this crisis at www.twitter.com/GoBGR. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).
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