A massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal in April 2015, just northwest of the capital of Kathmandu. It was the worst quake to strike the region in more than 80 years, killing thousands of people and injuring thousands more.
Millions of people were affected by the earthquake and the damage was devastating, toppling historic temples in Kathmandu and destroying entire rural villages. The suffering was compounded by a second major quake of 7.3 that struck less than a month later.
Hundreds of thousands of terrified people lost their homes and loved ones. And the disaster disproportionately affected poorer residents, who lived in mud and stone houses that crumbled and are in hard-to-reach areas of the mountainous terrain.
While still recovering from the earthquakes in 2015, Nepal faced another natural disaster in 2017. In August, widespread flooding from the heaviest monsoon season in over a decade ravaged the southern part of the country, affecting nearly 2 million people and displacing tens of thousands.
Nepal remains one of the poorest countries in the world, and frequent natural disasters like earthquakes and floods are especially devastating to families with few resources to protect themselves and recover.
- One in four people live in poverty.
- One in three adults have a bank account — half the global average.
- Money sent home from relatives in other countries accounts for 30 percent of Nepal's GDP.
More than 40 percent of Nepal's population are between the ages of 18 and 35, and nearly half of them are unemployed. Many young people are likely to leave the country, discouraged by insufficient education and employment opportunities and lacking the confidence to play productive leadership roles in their communities. Approximately 1,500 people between 18 and 35 migrate every day in search of better opportunities.
- Emergency response: Delivered emergency supplies and cash to families affected by the April 2015 earthquake. Distributed essentials such as blankets, basic hygiene kits and water purification tablets to families affected by the August 2017 flooding. Helping families rebuild stronger, safer homes.
- Agriculture & Food: Improving incomes of smallholder farmers with the production of high-value crops like ginger, cardamom and potato.
- Economic opportunity: Increasing access to loans and savings for marginalized people in remote areas. Providing financial knowledge so people can invest in their homes and futures.
- Women & Gender: Teaching financial literacy so women can develop and expand their small businesses.
- Disaster preparedness: Training communities to identify risks, build protections against floods, and educate residents on emergency response and coordination.
- Education: Helping girls stay in school and connecting them with skills and opportunities to find jobs and start businesses
Nepal: Protecting natural resources
Villagers in southwestern Nepal gather to tell Mercy Corps staff about their needs and how they make use of their surrounding environment — land, plants, water. The work is part of an assessment to figure out how to reduce natural resource-based conflict in the area.
Nepal: Women channel healthy sanitation
Toilets are a luxury in Kanchanpur District. In fact, throughout this rural area of southwest Nepal, few people have access to even rudimentary latrines.
Nepal: Shoring up communities in Nepal
Savitri Devi Chaudry is a member of her village's Disaster Preparedness Committee.
Nepal: From unbanked to borrowers
If you’re a bank, eastern Nepal might not seem like the most desirable place to open new branches.
Nepal: Who’s got the power?
You’re serving a customer or running a machine and the power quits. This is a regular occurrence in Nepal. If you’re well-off, you pay to have a generator installed in your business and home so you’re not dependent on the electric grid.
Nepal: Where the river brings life, it can also bring death
Krishna Bahadur Giri is standing thigh-deep in the swollen Mohana River, studying the best place to cross. The road we were going to use is washed out; Plan B is to turn our Jeep into an amphibious vehicle.
Nepal: Janaki Bhatta in Samaijee village, Nepal
With support from a Mercy Corps program funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Global Food Crisis Response, Janaki is working hard to make her farm more productive.
Nepal: To combat hunger, Janaki learns new ways to grow, store and sell
I’m pretty sure Bill Gates hasn’t met Janaki Bhatta. But I’m just as sure he’d see in her a kindred spirit — a feisty entrepreneur who’s taking some smart steps to increase her yields of aloo (potato) and audha (ginger) — and the income she earns from them.
Nepal: Khadga Ramtel in Katwalguan village
Mercy Corps’ Khadga Ramtel, a monitoring and evaluation officer for our agricultural and infrastructure work, talks with women in the village of Katwalguan.
Nepal: When your man goes to India
The Nepali women we’ve been talking to don’t complain. Or not like I imagine most of us would if we were faced with the hardships they endure — on their own — every day. They live a long way from any services or resources.