Nepal

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Our response

In the wake of the earthquakes that hit Nepal on April 25 and May 12, 2015, Development and Peace contributed $200,000 of its humanitarian aid budget to support the appeal that was launched by the Caritas network to assist victims. Through a joint appeal with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and thanks to the solidarity of Canadians, Development and Peace raised $4.8 million dollars. Drawing on a strong network of partners and volunteers, Caritas members, including Development and Peace, were able to provide an immediate large-scale response and play a major role in reconstruction efforts.

In the four months following the disaster, our activities reached 195,000 people in Kathmandu, the country's capital, in rural areas, such as the Kathmandu Valley, Gordkha near the epicentre and Sindhupalanchowk, as well as in other peripheral districts such as Nuwakot, Lamjung, Rasuwa, Dhadhing and Okheldhuga.

In order to meet the most urgent needs, basic necessities (mattresses, kitchen utensils, etc.), hygiene supplies, as well as tents, tarps and materials for temporary shelters were distributed to families in need.

Following this initial emergency phase, Development and Peace has focused its efforts in three specific areas: the reconstruction of infrastructure, agricultural and economic recovery and the fight against human trafficking. Various projects such as support for rebuilding houses, the rehabilitation of community toilets and irrigations systems, the reconstruction of village cooperatives, the distribution of seeds and agricultural tools, the relaunching of markets, support for women's cooperatives, professional training for young women, the implementation of a legal support mobile unit, advocacy activities, and the setting up of systems to counter human trafficking, have been carried out in conjunction with local partners and affected communities.

In a country particularly at risk of earthquakes and other natural disasters, the projects undertaken aim to ensure that communities recover, protect their future, and are prepared to face new emergencies with a greater capacity for resilience.


OUR RESPONSE TO THE EMERGENCY

 
The situation

On April 25, 2015, Nepal was hit by an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale, the most destructive to hit the country in over a century. A second quake, with a magnitude of 7.3, struck the country on May 12, 2015. Official figures reported approximately 9,000 deaths, more than 20,000 wounded, around 3,000,000 made homeless, and almost 8 million people in need of aid in 39 of the country’s 75 districts.

Nepal is a landlocked Himalayan country, located between China (Autonomous Region of Tibet) and India. It is one of the poorest countries in the world, with a human development index that places it 157th out of 187 countries. Nepal has been caught in constitutional political instability since 1951, which led to a civil war from 1996 to 2006 and has paralyzed the country. Poverty is a factor, which increases vulnerability in the case of an earthquake. Other factors include deforestation since it increases the risk of landslides, and infrastructure that is far from shock proof. Moreover, the destruction of places of worship and mountaineering bases in this Everest region has been a heavy blow to an economy based largely on tourism.

However, some people in Nepal have characterized this disaster as a blessing in disguise, as it brought about a number of social and political changes in the nation: traditionally separated castes came closer together in their moment of need; political classes joined forces to pen a new constitution for the country; the most stricken showed high reactivity, solidarity and resilience; and state actors visited affected areas where they rarely touched base.

Rebuilding a country after a natural disaster is a long process that can last anywhere from 5 to 10 years. In Nepal, the start of the process was delayed due to protracted political negotiations around establishing and appointing the person in charge of the National Reconstruction Authority. This important state coordinating authority, in charge of overseeing and funding reconstruction efforts, only came into being nine months after the disaster in January 2016.

In addition, since September 24, 2015, Nepal has been facing a severe shortage of essential commodities (medication, food, gasoline, etc.). Protesters from the Madhesi ethnic minority have been blocking crossings at the border with India to protest the new Constitution. They are expressing their disagreement with the new borders of the federated regions, which have resulted in their political under-representation in Parliament. This situation has led to concerns on the humanitarian front and has spawned an informal economy. Agreements between the government and the United Nations have, at the least, enabled the allocation of priority resources for ongoing aid operations.


STATISTICS ABOUT NEPAL

 
News
June 2, 2016

On April 25, 2016, which marked the first anniversary of the earthquake in Nepal, I travelled to the country to spend two weeks assessing the changing context and monitor the projects supported by Development and Peace. I was also there on behalf of our organization to show our solidarity with the Nepalese people, who were commemorating this sad event.

April 20, 2016

Thiramaya is 103-years-old and lives in Thokarpa-7, Sindhupalchowk in Nepal. One morning, she suddenly heard a loud noise that she believed to be a helicopter passing low over her home – which was something unusual. She can’t walk on her own, and normally people have to carry her from one place to another, but that day she managed to limp outside to so she could see the helicopter.

December 1, 2015

Six months ago, two devastating earthquakes hit Nepal, causing widespread destruction that affected more than 8 million people.

November 18, 2015

In April and May 2015, the districts of Gorkha and Sindhupalchok in central Nepal were hit by two violent earthquakes that affected tens of thousands of people. Nearly 9,000 people were killed and more than 2.8 million were left homeless.

September 4, 2015

Nepal is a quintessential tourist destination, considered the stuff of dreams thanks to its mountain peaks, enchanting landscapes, ancient cities, antique palaces and temples, venerable architecture, religions, food, and more.

April 29, 2015

The Most Reverend Paul-André Durocher, Archbishop of Gatineau and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, has announced a joint emergency campaign with the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace to raise funds for the victims of the earthquake in Nepal. In addition, the Government of Canada has announced it will match any contributions to assist Nepal which are collected by May 25, 2015.

April 27, 2015

On the third day after the terrible April 25 earthquake in Nepal, the people in Nepal are still afraid of aftershocks, and they are still counting the number of dead and injured, numbers which continue to climb. The violent 7.8 magnitude earthquake has caused nearly 4,000 deaths so far, with more than 6,500 people injured and thousands of people still missing.

April 25, 2015

On the morning of April 25, a massive earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale struck Nepal and part of neighbouring India. The epicentre was just 80 km from the capital Kathmandu where the destruction is massive. It is expected that the number of victims will increase in the coming hours and days.

Videos

The earth shook at the foot of the Himalayas


Pictures

Nepal earthquake 1 year on