One year ago the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in Nepal were transformed by the worst earthquake the country had experienced since 1934.
The earthquakes destroyed or damaged about 800,000 houses, leaving an estimated 4 million people living in cramped, temporary shelters made of plastic sheeting, corrugated iron and exposed to heat, wind, rain and cold.
Today we reflect on the work that has been done to help affected communities and the work that still needs to be done.
Immediate Humanitarian Response
Nepal, like most countries, has its own Red Cross National Society allowing for an immediate humanitarian action. In the hours, days and weeks after the disaster, the Nepal Red Cross drew on its strong network of community-based volunteers to reach survivors in the 14 worst-affected districts.
In the months after the earthquake Red Cross and Red Crescent partners from around the world – including the Irish Red Cross, supported the Nepal Red Cross Society in reaching more than three million people with emergency assistance.
Working closely with the Nepal Red Cross, the Irish Red Cross was able to distribute emergency goods including kitchen sets and 3,100 shelter kits, containing essential items that assisted more than 12,000 people in constructing sturdy shelters. As the country headed into winter, the Irish Red Cross provided technical support in assisting with the Red Cross winterisation programme, distributing cash grants to families to help them through the harsh cold months.
One Year On
One year on, the Red Cross is making significant progress in helping affected families and communities to recover from this disaster. Thousands have benefited from safe water, healthcare, and cash support to re-establish their livelihoods.
In late 2015, the Red Cross began training stone masons, carpenters and other community members in earthquake-resistant building techniques so they could improve their earning power, and by building back better, helping prepare for future disasters. Work started on building demonstration or model houses to show earthquake-resistant techniques, and on health posts and schools.
The Red Cross is committed to improving disaster-preparedness and building safer communities in Nepal for the long term. The Red Cross takes an integrated approach to all the priority areas – shelter, livelihoods, health, and water, sanitation and improving hygiene – so that communities can withstand future threats.
Nepal Red Cross Society
The Nepal Red Cross Society is the largest humanitarian organization in Nepal, with coverage over the whole country. It is playing a prominent role in helping people, focusing on the 14 districts identified by government assessments as being the worst affected by the disaster. The Nepal Red Cross works as an auxiliary to the public authorities, who are primarily responsible for responding to humanitarian needs after a disaster. The Irish Red Cross has supported the Nepal Red Cross to deliver emergency relief to earthquake survivors and continues to support longer-term recovery of affected communities.