After the quake
Nepal’s first steps to recovery
The worst earthquake to hit Nepal in over 80 years struck on 25 April 2015 — a massive 7.8-magnitude quake that has devastated communities. Some 4.2 million people, including 1.7 million children, have been severely affected. UNICEF and partners are working in the hardest-hit areas to ensure vital aid reaches those who need it most.
An 11-year-old boy stands in front of his destroyed home, in Bhaktapur District, one of three that compose Kathmandu Valley. Two of his relatives died in the earthquake, which claimed the lives of over 7,300 people and left more than 14,300 injured by 4 May.
Over 191,000 houses were destroyed and more than 175,000 damaged, leaving an estimated 2.8 million people displaced. Residents of the city of Bhaktapur search what remains of their homes for belongings.
With vital infrastructure severely damaged or destroyed, children and their families are vulnerable to disease outbreaks and are in urgent need of food, shelter, safe water and sanitation, and health support. A woman comforts her daughter, in Kathmandu District.
Following the massive earthquake, a woman in Bhaktapur gathered belongings she was able to salvage from her home, then awaited going to a shelter.
Rescue workers and residents search for people in need of assistance in the historic Durbar Square in Kathmandu, the capital, following the massive earthquake. The now-damaged square is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In Kathmandu, soldiers attempting to rescue a man trapped in a hole below ground scramble to safety during an aftershock. Hundreds of such aftershocks have been reported, including a 6.7-magnitude earthquake.
As the quake upturned buildings and homes, it also uprooted lives. Three days after the disaster, survivors who are from India but work in Nepal queue to be evacuated from Kathmandu to their home country.
A Nepalese boy — an earthquake survivor whose home in Kathmandu was destroyed — waits aboard a bus to be evacuated to a town where relatives live.
With their homes destroyed, many displaced people are now staying in informal camps.
“The most important thing to me is shelter. Our rental house totally collapsed,” said Sayera.
She and her baby are now living in a tent in an open field in Kathmandu.
By 4 May, 58 such camps were hosting some 37,500 internally displaced people in Kathmandu Valley alone. Two girls play with their pet parrots beneath a tent shelter in a park in the capital.
Jesica Shrestha (centre), 9, is examined by a health official in Kathmandu District. She and her best friend were playing when the earthquake struck. The children took shelter under a table. Though Jesica survived, her friend was killed. Jesica’s mother says that her daughter is now traumatized.
The radio show Bhandai Sundai (meaning ‘listening and talking’) — launched by Radio Nepal and UNICEF after the quake — has been providing listeners with the most up-to-date information, psychosocial support through call-in sessions, and educational entertainment for children.
UNICEF-supported child-friendly spaces are providing safe places where children can learn, play, and receive support to help them recover from their experiences. At a safe space in Lalitpur District, children draw a scene of a typical Nepalese village.
“I feel happy here because I’m getting the opportunity to colour and express myself,” said Monika Lama, 11, of a child-friendly space in Kathmandu.
Her home was completely destroyed in the earthquake, but her family escaped serious injury.
Children jump rope outside the same space Monika attends. In the wake of a disaster that has disordered nearly every facet of daily life, a chance to play again is one step of many toward reclaiming normalcy, toward recovery.
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