Action Against Hunger Nepal earthquake response

Our work to help families rebuild their lives in Nepal continues

Thanks to you, we’re reaching vulnerable children. But many more families are in urgent need as monsoon season looms

By Christine Kahmann

Jun 1 2015

It’s been five weeks since a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, killing more than 8,000 people and leaving thousands injured and homeless. We take a look back at our response over the past month.

On 25 April, a devastating earthquake struck Nepal, killing thousands and disrupting the lives of more than 8 million people. Just over two weeks later, a powerful second quake hit the country, causing further physical and emotional trauma for children and their families.

Our teams in Nepal immediately mobilised to launch an emergency response and colleagues from our emergency response team quickly reinforced the teams already there. Eleven tons of relief supplies - including water, sanitation and hygiene materials such as a water purification unit and water treatment kits, chlorine tablets, pumps, bladders, taps and construction materials for toilets - were released in the immediate aftermath of the disaster and dispatched to the regions of Nuwakot and Sindhupalchok.

In the aftermath of an emergency, women and girls and children are particularly vulnerable. Even before the earthquakes hit, Nepal had one of the highest rates of child malnutrition in the world. Our nutrition experts are running mobile clinics to screen, diagnose and treat children with life-threatening malnutrition.

Psychological support for children and their families is also paramount to help them cope with the trauma caused by the earthquake. We’ve set up quiet places for mothers and their children to facilitate breastfeeding and rest, and provide children with a safe space to play. In Bir hospital in Kathmandu, our psychologists provide counselling services to patients and train health staff on psycho-social care so they can help families cope with the trauma caused by the earthquake. 

Children need urgent access to clean water and adequate sanitation to prevent waterborne diseases. With the monsoon season expected to arrive within a few weeks, we are in a race against time to rehabilitate water sources and build emergency latrines. 

In Nuwakot and Rasuwa districts we have launched cash-for-work projects, which provide participants with short-term employment so they can earn a small income and don’t go short of food. In exchange for community work such as clearing debris or draining ditches, they can then spend the money to meet basic needs. 

We are currently working in four of the worst-hit districts – Kathmandu valley, Nuwakot, Rasuwa and Makwanpur. With your support, we aim to help 100,000 people in the first few months. 

But much more remains to be done to help families rebuild their lives and provide their children with healthier futures.

Thank you for supporting our Nepal emergency appeal. Thanks to you, we’re able to help children in urgent need. 

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Images: Agnes Varraine Leca and Daniel Burgui for Action Against Hunger.