Just over three years ago, Nepal was hit by a huge earthquake. Nearly 9,000 people lost their lives, and hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed. Your donation saved lives.
I was in Nepal only a few months ago and the impacts of the earthquake are still clearly visible. Walking through the streets of the capital Kathmandu, you can still see buildings with huge cracks down the sides that await repair. Many visitors will only see the temples in the tourist center of Durbar Square that are still closed off, but let’s not forget that it was the poorer parts of the city and the surrounding areas that were hardest hit.
When the earthquake struck, our local teams sprang into action and were among the first to respond. They reached more than 130,000 people with emergency relief items, including food, drinking water and tarpaulins for building temporary shelters.
We’ve worked in Nepal since 1983, together with networks of women across the areas affected by the earthquake. These women took the lead in all our relief distribution work, identifying the worst affected families within their communities and getting them what they needed, fast.
As time has passed, we’ve shifted from emergency response to supporting communities to build back stronger. Here are some of the main things we’ve been doing:
Making Sure Women’s Rights Are Respected
In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, we set up safe spaces where women could come and receive specialist support from our trained counselors. As time has gone on, we’ve expanded the number of safe spaces to 30. Each center has a referral process through which women can report instances of violence. They’ve also been an important part of the reconstruction process, providing a space where women can get together and identify their needs, and get the tools and information to engage in the rebuilding process.
Women attending the centers have also received leadership training and support setting up small businesses like mushroom farms that can help to boost their incomes.
Supporting Communities So They’re Equipped To Respond To Future Emergencies
Making sure that people can rebuild their homes and businesses has been a core part of our long-term response. We’ve formed 137 Community Reconstruction Committees that are taking forward the reconstruction of homes, as well as public buildings like schools. But we’ve also been working to make sure that communities are better prepared to face any future emergencies.
We’ve worked with communities across 18 areas affected by the earthquake to put in place Local Disaster and Climate Resilience Risk Management Plans. We’ve also organized emergency response trainings so that families can learn more about security and safety procedures for when a disaster happens, and what they should do.
Making Sure That Land Rights Are Respected
It’s easy to underestimate the impact of a large-scale disaster like the Nepal earthquake. Not only were people’s homes and businesses destroyed, and loved ones’ lives lost, but a lot of documentation will have been lost.
When a huge earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, the Land Ministry was destroyed and many people lost their land deeds. As the rebuild got underway, there were many reports of people’s land being taken and families left without land. That’s why we make protecting people’s land rights part of our emergency response work.
In Nepal, we set up 38 Land Rights Forums which have been working to make sure that people’s land rights are respected. Since the committees were set up, we’ve supported communities to make sure that public land is used in ways that meet their most urgent needs and helped landless farmers get access to land.
But There’s Still More To Do
Our team continues to work closely with many of the communities impacted by the earthquake. In the coming months, we’ll be making sure that reconstruction of schools and other infrastructure projects are finished. We’re continuing to work with Community Reconstruction Committees to make sure that the disaster response plans are developed and that people know what to do if another earthquake hits. We’re also playing a watchdog role, together with other organizations working in different areas of the earthquake zone, making sure that communities have access to government grant processes that provide money for reconstruction.
When the earthquake struck, your donation saved lives - and it continues to. We can't thank you enough.
As this is our last report on Nepal emergency relief, I hope you'll sign up here to continue receiving updates from ActionAid. It has never been more urgent to get involved.
One year ago, a huge earthquake struck Nepal. More than 9,000 people lost their lives and over eight million people – almost a third of Nepal’s population – were affected. Over 770,000 homes were damaged, leaving many to face the winter without shelter, warm clothes, food and water.
Thanks to your generous support, ActionAid was able to respond quickly and get emergency relief to those who needed it most. We successfully reached over 118,000 people, providing basic necessities such as food, shelter, and safe places to look after their kids. With more than 40 years’ experience working in Nepal, we were able to mobilize our networks of women and youth in Nepal and provide them with the things they needed to help the most vulnerable people in their communities.
While the rebuilding process is underway, it will be a long road to recovery. To truly rebuild from a disaster like this, we must make sure vulnerable communities are better protected for future disasters and that they are able to hold their government to account so the money and land needed for permanent shelter is made available to them before the cold winter arrives. That’s why ActionAid has committed to a three year minimum response program focusing on women rights, land rights, education, and the reconstruction of homes and livelihoods. By 2018, we aim to reach more than 193,000 people affected by the earthquake.
The long-term recovery effort will ensure women’s safety and dignity by combatting gender based violence, and ensuring their access to public services, education, and land to live and farm on. It will place emphasis on education for children, as well as access to job training and employment for adults which will allow them access to sustainable future income. We will work with communities to construct weather proof housing and prepare them for any future disasters. And we’re also working closely with the Government of Nepal, to make sure that people get the help they need to rebuild their lives.
As in all emergencies, we rely on the community itself to lead the relief efforts and tell us what issues are most important to them. It is with that community learning that we enter our long term recovery work. We also put accountability at the forefront of our work. We have posted transparency boards in local languages at our project locations, which show what services we are providing, where we source our materials, how we are spending money, and provide a space to raise any complaints from the community.
We couldn’t do any of this vital work without your generosity. Thank you for standing in solidarity with the people of Nepal when they need it most.
Thanks to your support, we have provided over 118,000 people with food, shelter, medicine and safety.
In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake we reached 73,000 people and, to date, we have supported 118,885 people in Sindhupalchok, Rasuwa, Kavre, Dolakha, Makwanpur and Kathmandu Valley - districts in Nepal’s central region. With the support of our local partners, female community leaders and volunteers, we:
Without your support, none of this would be possible. Thank you very much for your generosity and for continuing to stand in solidarity with the people of Nepal.
Everyone in Nepal remembers where they were that Saturday when the Earth shook, the walls collapsed, and the ceilings crumbled.
You’ll probably remember where you were too, and how you thought about how to support the people who lost everything when the earthquake hit.
With the support of friends like you since that terrible day, we’ve helped restore hope for people living in poverty in Nepal.
Three months on, as our work shifts from relief to long-term recovery and rebuilding, your ongoing support means more than ever. That’s why I urge you to make a gift to ActionAid today, to continue to rebuild the lives of those affected.
During the initial emergency phase we were able to provide food, shelter, medicine and safety to more than 118,000 people, including 35-year-old Laxmi and her family.
“What has helped us most has been the corrugated iron sheeting. Until four days ago we were staying under plastic tarps, and it was impossible to keep the rain out,” Laxmi says.
"It may not be a lot in terms of cash,” she continues, “but it has made a million dollars worth of difference to us. We had seen the worst of life and we needed a place to feel secure again.” Now, Laxmi says, they’ve regained hope.
While the emergency relief phase is over for Laxmi‘s family and others, the task of rebuilding permanent homes and livelihoods has only now begun, and your gift is crucial to sustaining this progress.
Monsoon season has begun, and landslides are occurring in the areas where ActionAid has been responding to the needs of communities living in poverty.
The rain will only increase the needs of those affected, and farming communities whose crops have been ruined face the threat of hunger if they can’t return to their fields soon.
After all they’ve been through, we can’t let the survivors lose hope now. That’s why your continued support is so important today.
Your gift to ActionAid will:
No one can forget the horror that unfolded that morning three months ago.
But no one can remember a time when people around the world responded more quickly, more generously, or more effectively.
Please help us continue to bring hope to the people of Nepal.
The ActionAid Team
P.S. With the emergency phase of our response now over, we turn to long-term recovery – and when we say long-term, we mean it. We’ve promised to support people affected by the earthquake in Nepal until at least April 2018. But to keep that promise, ActionAid USA relies on the continued generosity of people like you. Please make a gift today. Thank you for caring, and for giving.
Earlier today, a major new earthquake struck Nepal, causing further loss of life and thousands more injuries. ActionAid is on the ground getting help to the people who need it most.
People are unable to go home as their houses are unsafe. The second earthquake has caused further damage to already unstable buildings and the trauma for women, children, families and communities will be immeasurable. The current humanitarian disaster is worsening and people are in grave need of emergency help.
My colleague on the ground told us, “We were in the middle of Kathmandu having a coffee and planning our work schedule when the earthquake struck. The Nepali members of the team told us to get out of the building. Everyone was trying to work out which way to run.
“All around us people were crying out to make sure people were safe. I was shaking uncontrollably. The most important job is now to contact our colleagues across Nepal to establish what the situation is so we can respond effectively to this latest earthquake.”
Thanks to generous support, we’ve already provided help and support to nearly 50,000 families. We’ve supplied food, water, shelter items and hygiene kits to families in the worst affected areas. The disbursement of supplies is being run by community networks, led by women and young volunteers.
As with all emergencies, ActionAid is planning a long-term response. In the long term we’ll be working with communities to protect their land rights, so the homes and farms they work hard to rebuild are guaranteed to be theirs. We’ll also be campaigning to make communities safer for women and young girls by making sure they have access to bathrooms and washing facilities where they’re safe from violence and the spread of disease.
Thank you for your generosity at this urgent time.
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