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Nepal earthquake

Residents survey earthquake damage and search for belongings amongst the rubble. Photo: Aubrey Wade / Oxfam

Updated April, 2016

On April 25, 2015, a 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal. The quake and its aftershocks affected an estimated 8 million people—more than a quarter of Nepal’s population. Nearly 9,000 people lost their lives, more than 22,000 were injured, and about 750,000 houses were damaged or destroyed.

Oxfam and our partner organizations moved quickly into action after the quakes, delivering aid to communities in seven of the 14 hardest-hit districts in the country: Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur, Nuwakot, Dhading, Gorkha, and Sindhupalchowk. We have reached more than 480,000 people with vital support.

One of our immediate priorities was to provide shelter for families before the rainy season hit, and then to help ensure people were prepared for winter with thermal mats, blankets, mattresses, and hot water bottles. Nearly 50,000 households received emergency shelter kits, which included tarps and ropes.

The quakes damaged more than 200,000 toilets in the 14 districts as well as 46 percent of the water supply systems. With our partners, we have since built more than 7,200 latrines and installed or repaired 159 water systems—helping to ensure that families have access to clean water and sanitation systems which are vital in preventing the spread of waterborne diseases.

To help rebuild community services, we engaged more than 22,000 families in cash-for-work projects. While they removed debris, rebuilt trails, and repaired irrigation channels, householders earned much-needed income that allowed them to buy essential goods for their families. We also helped farmers recover their means of earning a living by distributing seeds, animal feed, and agricultural tools. And more than 2,300 families received grants to restart their businesses, restore community infrastructure, and support local markets.

In our response, we have also paid careful attention to the needs of women, who own only a fraction of the housing and land in the country and are at risk of being excluded from relief reconstruction programs. Among our initiatives has been the establishment of eight women’s centers where women are able to get counseling and referral services.

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