Six months after the Nepal earthquake, long-term recovery needs of survivors must be addressed

by IFRC | International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) - Switzerland
Friday, 23 October 2015 18:25 GMT

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Kathmandu / Geneva, October 23, 2015: Six months after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal, affecting 5.6 million people, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement warn that longer term support is needed to help shattered communities to recover.

Over the coming 18 months, the focus for the Movement will be on supporting the recovery of 700,000 people in four key sectors: water supply and improved sanitation; the restoration of livelihoods; rehabilitation of health structures and community health programmes; and help in rebuilding permanent homes.

“The effects of the earthquake have been felt at household and community levels. People have lost homes and livelihoods. Water supplies to many communities have been disrupted and local health services have been damaged or destroyed. It will take years for life to return to normal,” said Max Santner, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) head of delegation in Nepal.

After the earthquake the Movement launched a massive emergency response operation and significant achievements were made in meeting the immediate needs of survivors. “Our 8,000 volunteers went instantly into action with search and rescue and first aid. We distributed tarpaulins and blankets from the stock we had ready in our warehouses as well as supplies as soon as they arrived by air and road. In total, we reached more than 620,000 people,” said Dev Ratna Dhakhwa ,Nepal Red Cross Secretary General.

Red Cross and Red Crescent national societies from around the world supported the relief operation with specialist teams including field hospitals fully equipped with operating theatres and surgeons, mobile clinics and self-contained teams that produce water and provide sanitation infrastructure.

As winter approaches, one of the main humanitarian concerns is how families living at high altitudes will endure the coming months. Many have lost their thick-walled homes and are living in temporary shelters that offer little protection against the cold. The Red Cross is making plans to give blankets or cash grants to families so they can buy warm clothes and blankets.

As well as helping survivors to rebuild their lives, the operation will enhance the Nepal Red Cross’ capacity to respond to future disasters through targeted skills training for volunteers and strengthening expertise in disaster management and disaster risk reduction.

Note to editors:

The earthquake of 25 April was followed by a second quake on 12 May. After the two earthquakes a total of 5.6 million people were affected; 8,857 people were killed; more than 900,000 houses were damaged or destroyed.

The IFRC launched an 85 million Swiss franc (88 million US dollars/78 million euro) emergency appeal to assist 700,000 people affected by the Nepal earthquake. So far, 51 million Swiss francs (53 million US dollars/ 47 million euro) have been raised.

Across the 14 worst-affected districts, the Red Cross distributed tarpaulins for 550,000 people, water, soap and hygiene kits to 620,000, relief kits with tarpaulins, blankets, kitchen sets and building tools to 360,000 people, unconditional cash grants to 70,000 households covering 350,000 people, 4.6 million litres of safe drinking water, and provided health services including first aid, hospital care and psychosocial support to 88,000.

For further information or interviews contact:

In Kathmandu

Dibya Raj Poudel, Nepal Red Cross Society, Head of Humanitarian Values and Communications Department

Tel +977 1 4270650 Cell: +977 9851191968 or +977 9841699068, Skype : dibyarp

Rosemarie North, IFRC South Asia Comms Manager

tel +977 981 015 2220 Twitter: @rosemarienorth

In Kuala Lumpur

Patrick Fuller, IFRC Asia Pacific communications manager

Tel: +60122308451 / Twitter: @pat_fuller and @IFRCAsiapacific

In Geneva

Benoit Carpentier, IFRC team leader, public communications

Tel: +41792132413 Email: Twitter: @BenoistC