Recovery continues three months after Nepal earthquake


July 27, 2015

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  • Three months after Nepal's devastating earthquake, our teams are on the ground helping people like Saraswati Tamang (left) recover. All photos: Tom Van Cakenberghe for Mercy Corps

It’s been three months since a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake devastated Nepal — from its bustling capital to the lush, terraced hillsides of the country’s remote regions. Thousands were killed or injured during the disaster, and more than 500,000 homes were destroyed.

Our team on the ground responded immediately. After conducting rapid assessments to learn what people needed most, we began delivering emergency supply kits just two days after the initial earthquake.

But now, the people of Nepal need our help to begin their long-term recovery.

The arrival of monsoon season is cause for concern, and families are worried about rebuilding their homes and livelihoods after the disaster. Our team is working hard to help them through this transition.

Learn more below about how we’re helping Nepalis recover, and find out how you can make an impact.

Our emergency response

Thanks to our 100+ staff and 51,395 generous donors, we have reached more than 68,000 people with emergency relief since the April 25 earthquake. In the next few weeks, we expect that number to rise to more than 125,000.

We’ve now reached 49,500 people with essential supplies like tarps, rope, cooking utensils, hygiene supplies, blankets, clothing, water purification liquid, water containers, sleeping mats and solar lamps.

We also provided food to more than 12,000 people in need and delivered 570 tents to schools and community centers.

Rebuilding homes and communities is the next challenge for the people of Nepal. And to do that, they need cash. That’s why our focus in recent weeks has shifted to providing unconditional cash transfers to vulnerable families in several hard-hit areas of the country.

With cash in hand, people can prioritize their own needs and purchase what they need to begin rebuilding their homes. The spending also helps stimulate the local economy and get shopkeepers back on their feet.

We’ve reached 6,750 households with cash so far, and will continue those distributions in the coming weeks.

Some families will use the cash they receive to save up for a new home, while others will buy supplies like tin sheeting to create temporary walls as they begin the rebuilding process.

What’s next?

In the coming weeks, our teams will remain focused on providing emergency supplies, cash, food support, safe water and temporary shelter in the hardest-hit areas of Nepal.

They will also begin looking at the different ways we can provide long-term support to help communities recover and build back stronger.

We expect that this work will include improving financial access in affected areas, and launching a campaign that teaches schools and communities about disaster risk reduction to better prepare them for future emergencies.

We have also seen that earthquake damage and monsoon rains are severely affecting families who rely on agriculture for their livelihoods.

About 80 percent of people in the hardest-hit areas rely on agriculture to earn a living, and the disruption in planting and harvesting because of the earthquake could cause problems with the local food supply.

We will be monitoring this situation very closely in the coming months and considering effective ways to help families meet their basic needs and plan for the future.

Your support in action

In Nuwakot District, one of the areas hardest-hit by the earthquake in April, people gathered recently to receive cash assistance that will help them begin to rebuild their homes and communities.

At this distribution, more than 300 people were each given 7,500 Nepali Rupees, which is equivalent to about $74 USD. This money will help them survive monsoon season and give them the chance to buy rebuilding supplies.

See photos from the distribution below, and learn about the experiences of two people who received cash assistance to help their families.

Saraswati Tamang, 30, her husband and two children ran outside when the earthquake came. Their home suffered serious damage. All of the homes in their village are either partially or entirely destroyed.

They’ve built a temporary shelter for themselves, but want to rebuild. The cash the family received will help them with that task.

“It will be helpful,” she says. “It will help us buy more tin roofing, because we weren’t able to buy enough.”

She tells us that her community came together to rebuild the children's school that was destroyed by the earthquake.

Chakrabahadur Panta lives two hours away from the cash distribution center by foot. “Personally, it wasn’t a waste of time,” he says of his arduous journey.

His family of seven had had just finished dinner when the April 25 earthquake began to shake their home. He carried his mother-in-law down the stairs to safety. The large family had two houses — one was completely destroyed and the other is no longer livable.

He thinks that it will take him 10 years to rebuild everything. He and his family will use the cash they received to buy building materials to begin the repairs.

How you can help

  • Donate to our Humanitarian Response Fund: Your gift will help people in Nepal recover and support our emergency efforts to crises in Syria, South Sudan, Ukraine and around the world. Give now ▸
  • Fundraise for survivors: Our team is able to quickly respond to natural disasters because of supporters like you — and the more people who come together to help, the more people we can reach. Spread the word to your family and friends: Start a fundraising page for Nepal ▸