On April 25, an earthquake devastated the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu and surrounding areas. Thousands have died and the death toll continues to rise with a further 6,500 injured, according to Nepalese officials. Women, children and elderly people sit outside in the cold and wind, while numerous people are still buried and dying under the collapsed buildings.
CUPE has pledged $25,000 to Oxfam international and another $10,000 to the Public Services International (PSI) Nepal relief fund.
“CUPE members have a long tradition of international solidarity. We support the work of Oxfam in their relief efforts in Nepal and lend our support to the relief work of Public Services International,” said CUPE National President Paul Moist.
The immediate priority now is to provide emergency shelter to those left homeless by the earthquake, as well as water and sanitation. PSI affiliates in Nepal have already started carrying out relief work.
“CUPE members are front line workers here in Canada; we understand the importance of public services like health care and clean water. Our international solidarity work is very focused on ensuring those public services are there to help,” said CUPE National Secretary Treasurer Charles Fleury.
The majority of the population of the region have fled their homes fearing the aftershocks and are gathered in the surrounding areas, some in make shift camps.
“We must continue to make it a priority to work together to pressure governments and the United Nations to increase investment in emergency services and skills training. Governments and UN agencies must involve public service workers, increase training, improve health and safety standards, and improve facilities, equipment and communications for the workers dealing with these calamities. Again and again we are proved correct in our arguments, when these disasters take huge tolls of human lives and livelihoods while governments remain inactive,” said Rosa Pavanelli, PSI General Secretary.