On April 25, 2015 a magnitude-7.9 earthquake hit Nepal affecting millions of families and injuring more than 22,000 people, including children. Whenever a disaster strikes children are the most vulnerable and this disaster was no different. Thousands of schools and health facilities had to be rebuilt. Following the earthquake, children were left scared and without the proper healthcare and resources to help them.
Because of the support from partners and donors, Save the Children was well prepared to respond. Our teams were able to reach more than 580,000 people, including 352,000 children, with vital aid. But the work is not yet over. A year after the earthquake more than 600,000 families still remain without a proper home. Many children still haven’t returned to school and young mothers are still seeking proper healthcare.
The worst natural disaster in over 80 years
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake in April 2015 was the worst natural disaster to strike Nepal in over 80 years. The last one was in 1934. This time, the destruction centered around therural mid-hills of Nepal, destroyed homes and affected the lives of people who live in geographically challenging terrain. The death count reached almost 9,000 and more than 22,000 people, including children, were injured.
The country reported an economic setback of over seven billion USD (NRs 706 billion). In the fourteen worst affected districts of Gorkha, Dolakha, Sindhupalchowk, Nuwakot, Rasuwa, Kathmandu valley (Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur), Dhading, Kavre, Lamjung, Makawanpur, Sindhuli and Ramechhap, over half a million homes were destroyed. Schools were also hit hard. Over 28,000 classrooms were destroyed; meaning over 7,000 schools now need to be rebuilt. The quake brought down 1,227 health facilities; most of them government posts, which compromised people’s access to basic and life-saving support. There were two million people in urgent need of water, sanitation and hygiene support with signiicant damage and destruction of the water supply and sanitation systems.
Immediate and Initial Response (April 25, 2015 - June 30, 2015)
Preparedness and planning helped Save the Children launch an immediate response within the irst 24 hours after the earthquake. National staff already trained in humanitarian response were deployed and prepositioned stocks in four locations in Nepal, including Kathmandu, proved to be life-savingfor many in the aftermath of the disaster. The response was fortiied by the deployment of Save the Children’s experienced surge capacity teams, which provided specialized expertise to the response. Support from Save the Children India, China and the Philippines further enhanced the response, by providing personnel, supplies and coordination.
During the initial response period, Save the Children focused on the most urgent humanitarian needs, with programming focusing on providing temporary shelter support and essential relief materials. There were safety and information messages across several media platforms, particularly aimed at the needs of people with the monsoon season approaching.
Relief and Early Recovery (July 1, 2015 - 31 October, 2015)
Access became a huge challenge, with dry landslides and monsoon rain cutting off road access to several of the affected communities in high mountainous areas. Save the Children reached out to the affected communities during this period with multi-purpose cash distributions, allowing the most-affected communities to buy the things they needed to meet their own immediate needs. Key relief and response activities and community mobilization were implemented with and through local NGO partners and in coordination with local government.
Recovery Phase and Transition to Development (November 1, 2015 – April 2018)
Save the Children’s focused priority during this phase has been on the relief and recovery needs of those communities living in high altitudes and remote locations. Our teams carried out a large and complicated winterization project in the remote mountains of Gorkha and Sindhupalchowk districts, ensuring that these communities had essential amenities to survive the winter and stay warm.
Save the Children’s reconstruction effort will now focus on building back better,with programming focused on supporting the government and local organizations prepare for and reduce risk for children and their communities. Save the Children will concentrate on lessons learned and incorporating risk reduction elements to all its programs. Focus will be on children and their families to make sure they have safer homes. There will also be programs to help affected families recover their livelihoods so they can confidently support their children’s health, education and nutritional needs. Above all, we will work with affected communities and the government to make sure children have safer schools, building safer classrooms with adequate water, sanitation and hygiene services.
To learn more about Save the Children’s Nepal Earthquake response read our One Year Anniversary Report.