Nepal: Chaos after massive earthquake

DanChurchAid sends three humanitarian response experts to Nepal to assist the local office and partners in the planning of the relief work as fast as possible.

by Jutta Weinkouff

Everything is still chaos in Kathmandu.

More than 3,600 people have died and survivors are desperately digging in the ruins for relatives. People are sheltering out in the open out of fear for aftershocks and nobody knows anything about the situation in the remote mountain villages.

DanChurchAid sends Erik Johnson, Head of Humanitarian Response, to Nepal along with two experts. They will assist in getting an overview and strengthen DanChurchAid's local office in Kathmandu.

DanChurchAid is also building a tent camp where the victims of the earthquake can stay in safety, until the work with clearing and securing damaged houses are completed.


In the camp, one of the humanitarian response experts will help restore a safe water supply and construction of new sanitation.

The second expert will manage DanChurchAid’s distribution of cash to earthquake victims. Cash is often used as payment for the victims themselves participating in rehabilitation and reconstruction work.

Years of preparation for disaster

It has long been clear that at some point a great earthquake would happen in Nepal. However, no one has been able to say when.

For that reason, DanChurchAid has for many years been working with disaster risk reduction in villages in Nepal – meaning teaching inhabitants how to best help themselves when a disaster strikes.

The main rescue efforts often take place before the organized help arrives.

Local disaster groups

In many villages, DanChurchAid has formed local disaster groups which have been repeating again and again, what to do in crisis situations.

  • What do you do if you are inside when the earthquake hit - and if you're out?
  • Where will all meet when the earthquake is over?
  • Who does what in the rescue work?
  • Where is the store with food, medicine and water if supply routes are interrupted?

Facts about the earthquake in Nepal

  • Saturday April 25th, Nepal was hit by a devastating earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale.
  • There is still no overview of the disaster; especially not in the hard to reach rural areas.
  • DanChurchAid is planning a rehabilitation and reconstruction effort lasting at least 1½ years.