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12-04-2016 | Latest News , Asia & Pacific

Nepal Earthquake: One year on


Nearly a year after Nepal’s deadly 25 April 2015 earthquake, hope and recovery are evident throughout the region.The Nepal Red Cross Society and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have completed a massive emergency response operation that has reached more than 600,000 people.

The Red Cross continues to play a prominent role in helping thousands of people across the 14 districts most severely affected by the earthquake, to rebuild their lives.


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Aerial view from drone of the earthquake affected areas

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Umesh Prasad Dhakal, Head of Earthquake Response Operations, Nepal Red Cross Society

Within hours, days and months, Nepal Red Cross Society was able to provide support to over two million people affected by earthquake and these support included non-food relief items support in terms of tarpaulins, blankets, utensils, etc. And we were also able to provide water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities to more than half a million people as well as health facilities and other immediate support was provided to those affected and those who were really in need during that time.

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Kaustubh Kukde, Water and Sanitation Delegate, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

If you see the context of Nepal, after the earthquake, the water supply systems are very much affected, may be because of the landslides or the sources have dried up or the yield has gone down, pipelines are broken. So something or else has affected the water supply systems. So if you see the communities, yes, they tried their best to actually to restore these water supply schemes but it is not possible to all the communities to address or to restore their supply schemes on their own. They need external assistance. Government has been doing from its side and from Red Cross, we are joining these efforts along with other organizations to help Nepal restore its infrastructure.

In Rampur, the water source the community was using, that has completely dried up. So now they have to go a little further to fetch water from the new water source. Certainly, if you see in their context, now they are getting access to drinking water by spending couple of hours but for the reconstruction of their houses, they need water.

When someone is spending 2-3 hours just to fetch water, that means the time they would have spent on livelihood activities, that is reduced. So it is directly affecting their livelihood activities. Secondly, they are not getting enough quantity of drinking water. If you see the family size, may be of 5-10 and then someone is spending time to fetch water, how much water they can fetch in one trip. That we are to think. And then the water they get is not enough for their other hygiene activities. So, in short, it is affecting the family health as well as the livelihood.

This is a recovery program which is trying to look into the sustainable interventions from Red Cross side so that communities are not only given something but also whatever we do is addressing their needs and if you see all the Red Cross interventions, mostly they are community led. So it is not Red Cross which is doing something but community is helping itself and Red Cross is joining that effort.

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Mike Higginson, Nepal Country Office Programme Coordinator, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

When I talk about building back shelter, it’s only part of a healing process that we need to see happen in Nepal. And it’s about giving people and communities their right to work again. Not only work but also to feel like they’re back in control. So through our activities what we can do is we can provide a program which is building back houses but within that we’re also providing skills through training courses where people become masons or builders and understand better building back processes. And that not only works for us in our projects but also broader community as it continues on. So not only we’re looking at what we’re doing now but we’re looking at what we can give to community for the future.

We’re using what we call an integrated process. What we’re seeing is the individual needs of people and that is mainly based around their needs for long-term shelter and homes. But also we see that there’s a need for the community to have health and water and sanitation options. So not only we’re looking at building back houses or giving people skills on how to build back houses but we’re also looking at how we can reactivate the water systems or even develop new water systems, to look at the sanitation condition within the villages. How we can either provide where latrines would have been destroyed or how we can actually see what we can do to make the sanitation systems even better for the future.

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Sanjeev Thapa, Chairman, Nepal Red Cross Society

Finally, I also take this opportunity to sincerely thank the entire Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the government of Nepal and many other partners who kindly supported us to assist millions of people affected by the devastating earthquake.

With this generous support, we have been able to bring at least some happiness in the faces of those affected. Here, we have now moved to recovery from emergency relief phase.

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Build back better training in earthquake resistant techniques on model or demonstration houses.

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Restoring water supplies

The whole village of Kshamawati moved after the 12 May earthquake. Their old location on a steep hillside in the eastern district of Dolakha is now a landslide risk. Above it perches a huge boulder that could come down at any time. For now, Kshamawati people – who are from the Thami ethnic group – are camping in shelters made of bamboo, tarpaulins and corrugated iron sheeting on land belonging to the Nepal Department of Forests. Two outdoor taps are almost constantly in use. Women fetch water in containers, scour pots and plates, or wash children’s faces at the taps.

The water systems were set up by the Nepal Red Cross Society after the disaster, which disrupted water supplies and sanitation systems for hundreds of thousands of people, leaving them at risk of water-borne diseases. Water and sanitation is an important element in the Red Cross’ massive emergency relief operation, when 4.6 million litres of safe drinking water, and 1.3 million items like water purification tablets, toothbrushes and soap were distributed to more than 620,000 people affected by the earthquakes. Other emergency relief during the first six months after the 25 April earthquake included tarpaulins and tools to build temporary shelters and health care.

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Shots of children and women using the water source at the temporary shelter.

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Shots of Roshani and Rishiram farming.

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Shots of different crops.

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Shots of houses demolised by the quake.

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Roshani and Rishiram's temporary shelter.

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Kathmandu district farmer Roshani Ghimire:

After the earthquake, when all the food was buried, we had to go and find work. We are farmers and it was quite difficult for us.

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We didn't know what the future held for us, would the sitution remain like this for us... We didn’t have money to buy seeds.

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We bought seeds and even asked and for and borrowed seeds and we planted rice.

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Kathmandu district farmer Krishna Gopal (man in hat) speaks to Earthquake Recovery Office programme coordinator for Nepal Red Cross Society, Kathmandu district Sagun Shrestha (woman) and Nepal Red Cross Society, Kathmandu district planning, monitoring, evaluation and reporting officer Arun Regmi (man).

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Emergency Response Sequence

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Earthquake relief packages at the Tribhuwan International Airport in Kathmandu

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Red Cross volunteers unloading relief materials off a jeep

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Red Cross volunteers carrying relief materials

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Red Cross volunteers unloading bamboos off a truck

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A Red Cross volunteer carrying bamboo down a narrow path

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Two Red Cross volunteers carrying bamboo

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Red Cross distributing relief materials to the villagers at their distribution point

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Red Cross volunteers building toilets with bamboos and tarps

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Red Cross volunteer tying tarps together for toilets




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