Nepal earthquake: 3 ways we’re helping, 3 months later

By Anna Kramer

Here’s how your support continues to make a difference for people in Nepal.

On April 25, 2015, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal. The quake and its aftershocks affected an estimated 8 million people—more than a quarter of Nepal’s population. Thousands in Nepal and northern India lost their lives, and hundreds of thousands were suddenly left without food, water, or shelter. With sanitation and water supplies disrupted, survivors have been at risk of deadly waterborne disease.

Thanks to your support, Oxfam went into action right away, distributing vital supplies to those in greatest need. So what’s happening now, three months later? Here are three ways that your support continues to make a difference: 

1. Delivering much-needed aid

Aisha collects clean water from an Oxfam water tank in Tundhikel camp, Kathmandu, Nepal. Photo: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam

So far, Oxfam and partner organizations have been able to assist more than 367,000 women, men, and children affected by the earthquakes—a response that would not have been possible without the support of people like you. For example, we’ve been able to help:

  • Provide chlorinated drinking water for 30,000 people
  • Distribute 37,600 hygiene kits, which include essential items like buckets, soap, towels, and oral rehydration salts.
  • Build 4,470 latrines, as well as vital hand-washing points.
  • Distribute 35,000 emergency and improved shelter kits, along with foam mats, groundsheets, blankets, and solar lamps.
  • Reach 27,000 households with either food baskets—including items such as rice, lentils and cooking oil—or support to plant their own crops again.

2. Working together with local groups

Nepalese mountain guides help Oxfam deliver aid supplies to remote areas in the aftermath of the April 2015 earthquake. Photo by Sam Spickett/Oxfam

The initial earthquake and its aftershocks led to many roads being blocked by landslides. The onset of the monsoon rains in June created further disruption, and getting help out to more isolated districts has been extremely difficult. Oxfam staff teams are camping out in regional hubs, many of which are off-road with access only by foot, and staying in tents while they get work done. 

Meanwhile, Oxfam has employed mountain guides and porters to help deliver supplies to the most remote communities. Not only has this meant aid has been delivered safely and quickly, it provided work for the guides, who have struggled to find work after the earthquake. Their knowledge and expertise has been invaluable.

With a presence in Nepal reaching back more than 30 years, Oxfam also has working relationships with local partner organizations, many of whom have been able to support the earthquake response. A group called the Small Farmers Agriculture Cooperative Federation, for example, has been helping to distribute rice seeds to farmers in the Dhading region.

3. Helping women stay safe

Famlies arrive at Tundikhel camp in Kathmandu, seeking shelter. Photo: Pablo Tosco / Oxfam

When a crisis like an earthquake strikes, women and girls are affected differently than men and boys. Recent Oxfam research in Nepal found that women and adolescent girls feel at risk in overcrowded temporary shelters where there is often no privacy or solid walls. Communal toilets and unlit areas were also cited as insecure places. Poor access to health services and clean water creates a health risk, especially for pregnant women.

Oxfam is committed to addressing women’s needs in the earthquake response. We’ve set up focus groups to ensure women’s voices are heard. We have distributed gender-sensitive hygiene kits and built separate toilet blocks for women and girls. We have provided counseling and, through radio programs, advice on maintaining hygiene to prevent diseases.

“With technical and financial support from Oxfam, [we are] constructing centers for women in eight villages … to provide a common platform where women can share and learn about risks,” said Lily Thapa, executive director of Oxfam's partner organization Women for Human Rights. “We are also providing medical and other referral services, and helping women to participate in cash-for-work schemes as well as recovery and reconstruction programs.”

What’s next?

With more than 90 percent of homes destroyed in some districts, food needs still acute, and waterborne diseases remaining a threat, thousands of people still need our support—especially during monsoon season, which lasts from June through August.

Over the coming months, Oxfam’s most urgent priority is to supply clean water, hygiene materials, and training on how to prevent the spread of disease. We will also distribute building materials, including corrugated iron sheeting, so that people can build more robust shelter from the monsoon rains, and we’ll be looking at ways to help people earn a living again and to boost local economies.

Help make sure clean water and other essentials continue to reach earthquake survivors.

Donate now

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