On April 25, a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck near to the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu, resulting in the worst natural disaster that the countru has faced in more than 80 years.
Killing more than 8,000 people and injuring more than 20,000, the impact of this earthquake and the subsequent aftershocks on human life and infrastructure has been colossal, affecting a total of around 8 million people.
Entire communities were devastated, particularly in the worst-affected rural areas in Sindulpalchowk and the Kathmandu valley. There is still, even now, a clear and urgent need for clean water, food, shelter and medical care.
While Christian Aid has no country-focused programme in Nepal, our team in Delhi, India, co-ordinates regional initiatives and with the assistance of ACT Alliance partners, we were on the ground to assess and respond quickly.
By the time the second earthquake struck Nepal, our team was already hard at work in communities distributing water, plastic sheeting and assessing further needs.
What have we done?
We’ve now reached the end of this first phase of the response, and from a standing start we’ve been able to provide support to over 19,000 households — almost 100,000 people — in just over three weeks.
Almost 10,000 families have received food, more than 12,000 families have received hygiene kits, 19,000 households have been helped to create temporary shelters and over one million water purification tablets have been distributed so far.
Yeeshu Shukla, our emergency officer in Nepal, reports in the video below on the items that our partners managed to distribute in remote areas.
Food, shelter from the rain, hygiene items and clean water were the priorities in the initial days of the response.
Nepal is one of the least developed countries in the region. Poor infrastructure — only made worse by the earthquake and rain — has made travel to these remote rural areas difficult and dangerous.
Now the race is on to improve shelters ahead of the heavy rains of the monsoon season, and assist people in learning new skills and techniques so that their homes are safer places to be when an earthquake strikes.
When the rains do come, it’s vital that good hygiene is practised and that communities have access to clean, safe drinking water so that disease doesn’t spread.
Over the next three years, Christian Aid’s partners in Nepal will be focusing on making sure the most vulnerable have safe places to live, clean water to drink and a way to earn a living. The work is just beginning.