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What you need to know about Nepal’s “double disaster”

A woman and child walk among damaged buildings in Sankhu, Nepal, a few days after the April 25, 2015, earthquake. Photo: Aubrey Wade/Oxfam

Yesterday a second major earthquake struck Nepal. Here’s the latest information and how you can help.

What happened?

At 12:35 pm local time on Tuesday, May 12, a magnitude 7.3 earthquake hit Jiri, an area east of Kathmandu, Nepal. There were two aftershocks: one at 12:49 pm, measuring magnitude 5.2, and one at 1:14 pm, measuring 5.1.

This second quake came just 16 days after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal. That April 25 quake claimed thousands of lives and affected millions of people.

How severe is the damage from the second earthquake?

Details are still emerging, but the quake is expected to have a major impact, based on its magnitude and the fact that many people were already in vulnerable situations because of the previous quake. According to the latest estimates, yesterday’s earthquake killed 65 people and injured more than 1,900.

The May 12 quake affected 31 of Nepal’s 75 districts. Oxfam staffers report that the worst damage is in Sindhupalchok, which is close to the epicenter. Several major landslides have been reported there and in Dholaka. Elsewhere, people have been injured and buildings have been damaged.

“This is a double disaster, leaving many of the survivors of the first earthquake shocked and fearful of further tremors,” said Cecilia Keizer, Oxfam’s country director in Nepal.

Is aid still getting through?

Oxfam currently has more than 100 staff and volunteers working in seven districts in the country on the humanitarian response to this second earthquake. All are safe after yesterday’s quake and continuing the relief effort.

Oxfam has so far helped more than 60,000 people in seven districts in Nepal, delivering clean water, emergency latrines, emergency shelter, food assistance, and hygiene kits, and other relief supplies. Reaching communities in the country’s rural districts has been challenging and initial reports suggest fresh landslides have cut off some areas. The government and aid agencies are still assessing the extent of damage from the second earthquake, but it is likely that further landslides and damage to infrastructure will make some villages even harder to reach. 

“Our teams in the quake areas reported that buildings collapsed and landslides have blocked the roads. They too were very shaken but immediately got back to work,” said Keizer. “While we don’t yet know the full extent of this second major earthquake, we do know that the people of Nepal will need much more support to help them put their lives back together.”

How can I help?

By donating to Oxfam’s relief effort. We are currently working in seven districts in Nepal, and aim to reach 400,000 people with aid. We’ve delivered hygiene kits that will help more than 15,000 people protect themselves from disease. We’ve distributed shelter materials that are helping more than 9,000 survivors. Donations have helped fund temporary latrines, benefitting more than 6,300 people in camps, and clean water supplies for more than 53,000 survivors. 

In the coming weeks, Oxfam will continue to provide emergency relief to earthquake survivors, working with local people and organizations to reach the most vulnerable people with aid. But after this new earthquake, we truly need your support. The rainy season is starting soon and tens of thousands of people are still living outdoors in makeshift shelters. There is a risk of waterborne diseases if water and sanitation facilities cannot be built in time.

“It was already a race against time to reach people before the monsoon season arrives at the beginning of June,” said Keizer. “It’s now more vital than ever for us to be able to reach as many people as possible.”

Help rush clean water and other essentials to earthquake survivors.

Donate now


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