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Nepal: Progress and Challenges One Year After the Earthquake

On Saturday 25 April 2015, a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, killing nearly 9,000 people and and destroying homes, leaving 188,900 people displaced. One year on, families continue to rebuild their lives. But recovery is a challenging, step-by-step process. Erratic weather conditions including rain, thunderstorms and mountain snow, the slow pace of reconstruction and a blockade on the border between Nepal and India have slowed down recovery efforts, but Action Against Hunger remains committed to working in partnership with communities to help them build back better and to recover from the disaster.

Action Against Hunger mobilized a response within 24 hours. In the aftermath of the first quake,we distributed 11 eleven tons of relief supplies – including water, sanitation and hygiene materials such as a water purification unit and water treatment kits, chlorine tablets, pumps, bladders, taps and construction materials for toilets. We immediately mobilized our emergency team and launched an intervention in seven districts – Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Lalitput (also known as Patan), Nuwakot, Rasuwa Makwanpur and Ramechhap. Our most urgent priority was to meet the immediate survival needs of children and their families.

In the past 12 months, we have reached over 178,000 people with clean water, cooking kits and food, shelter kits, and cash-for-work, helping them to cope with the devastation, rebuild their lives, and get back on their feet.

Our impact in Nepal

To date, as part of our immediate emergency response and ongoing recovery efforts, we have:

  • provided 81,252 people with improved access to water, sanitation and hygiene
  • helped 24,910 people improve their access to food and livelihoods
  • distributed shelter and non-food items such as hygiene kits to 35,435 people
  • reached 25,685 people with nutrition treatment and food supplements
  • provided psycho-social support and counselling to 10,810 people.

Rebuilding lives

In the first few weeks after the devastation, our teams worked to prevent disease outbreaks triggered by inadequate sanitation. Our efforts included restoring access to clean water by repairing water networks, installing water distribution systems, and delivering basic sanitation, especially in temporary camps set up for displaced people who lost their homes.

The earthquakes and their aftershocks left many survivors traumatized, struggling to deal with the loss of loved ones and neighbors and their homes, along the fear and shock they experienced. Many people, particularly children, are still suffering from anxiety and trauma. Our teams are providing psychosocial support to help parents and children understand and overcome anxiety and trauma.

We have also set up “baby and child friendly” quiet places for mothers to breastfeed their babies and to provide children with a safe space to play, which is important for their mental and physical wellbeing.

Hundreds of thousands of people in Nepal depend on agriculture to make a living and lost the main source of their livelihoods during the devastating earthquakes and their aftershocks. Without an income from crop cultivation and animal farming, people’s ability to feed their families has been hampered. We have distributed shelter kits, cooking kits, and grain bags to farming households, enabling them to salvage stocks of food and to safely store rice, maize, and other types of crops. We have also provided communities with cash grants in exchange for community work such as removing rubble and debris from roads and public spaces.

Overcoming challenges

Many families in rural areas lost their homes and their remoteness meant monsoons and landslides made access difficult. Today, many are still living in temporary shelters where they’re exposed to weather and health hazards.

People have faced trying times in the past year, with a political stand-off and weather hazards slowing down attempts to rebuild. Major routes were blocked between September 2015 and February 2016, causing a shortage of fuel and other essential goods, like medical and food products. Furthermore, delays in the formation of the National Reconstruction Authority, tasked as the key body in charge of Nepal’s rebuild, prevented many families from rebuilding permanent homes.

These obstacles have however not stopped families from rebuilding their lives and regaining their hope.

Rebuilding in Nepal will take a long time and we are in for the long haul to treat malnourished children and prevent them from falling ill in the first place, as well as improving families’ access to food and clean water.

We continue providing malnourished children with urgent treatment and follow-up care, and to work with the Nepalese health authorities to bring nutrition treatment to communities.

We continue to help improve access to food as many families lost their harvests and animals and have not been able to replant their fields as well as providing psychosocial support and training.

Our work would not be possible without our amazing supporters who have made our rapid response and ongoing rehabilitation programs possible, and enabled us to benefit people like Kaili, whose story we are proud to share with you.

Kaili’s Story

“There were 46 houses in my village and only three or four are standing,” says Kaili Maya Sherpa, 57, from Tatopani, Sindhupalchok District.

We met Kaili when she was living in a camp in the Kathmandu Valley with her family including four sons and a daughter, her pregnant daughter-in-law and grandson Nima Sherpa, 5.

Kaili participated in Action Against Hunger’s psychosocial support program.

“We have all the basics here to survive but I have been very afraid for the future and for my children,” Kaili told us. “I was always crying. I had given up all hope. When I was talking to somebody I would find myself drifting away. I could not sleep and I had stopped eating. All I could do was sit and think about the earthquakes. I really thought that we would all die. Action Against Hunger offered me one-to-one counselling. It was the first time I was able to talk to somebody who would listen and understand how I was feeling who was not a family member. This has enabled me to start to have hope for the future again.”

Thank you for allowing us to be where we are needed most to help Kaili and other earthquake survivors rebuild their lives.

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  • […] When drought and disaster strikes, Action Against Hunger is there. Our 24-hour rapid-response emergency teams deliver immediate life-saving aid to children and families in distress. Since 2010, Action Against Hunger has intervened in 103 emergencies around the world. 28 of these were in 2015, including the Nepal Earthquake. […]

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