Updated on 24 April 2016
On 25 April, 2015, Nepal suffered a magnitude 7.8 earthquake. This was followed by hundreds of aftershocks. Over this period, more than 8,700 people died and over 23,500 were injured. More than 750,000 houses were destroyed or damaged. In total, over 8 million people across 31 districts were affected by the earthquake.
Oxfam’s Response and Advocacy
Oxfam is working in seven of the worst-affected districts: Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Kathmandu, Sindhupalchok, Dhading, Gorkha and Nuwakot. In total, we have supported over 480,000 people by:
- Distributing close to 50,000 emergency shelters
- Providing 12,000 winter supply kits that included blankets and thermal mats
- Distributing 54,000 hygiene kits to help people gain access to clean drinking water and to wash safely
- Building over 7,000 sets of toilets and facilities for hand-washing
- Repairing or installing more than 150 clean water tanks and taps
- Over 140,000 farmers have received seeds for lost crops and lost or destroyed agricultural tools were replaced
- Providing people in remote areas with close to 200 training sessions on building resilient houses
- Helping more than 20,000 families through our cash for work programme to support their livelihoods with short-term employment
We are now transitioning from providing immediate emergency relief to longer-term recovery, ensuring that the recovery work meets people’s needs, both now and in the future. In the recovery phase, we are working towards:
- Establishing the network of women centres to advise women on their rights and help them to claim assistance from the government
- Providing sustainable water and sanitation facilities, including water rehabilitation in schools, and major repair and rehabilitation of damaged water supplies in the hill districts
- Seeking to restore non-agriculture-based livelihoods by providing such support as capital and training for people to rehabilitate existing businesses; this in turn will also help to restart employment opportunities for wage-labourers
- Providing targeted support to women, empowering them through life skills training and activities to strengthen their abilities
One Programme Approach
In our humanitarian work, and all that we do, we achieve the greatest impact by integrating long-term development, disaster risk reduction and advocacy into our programmes.
Over the past year, Oxfam’s research found that 600,000 families (estimated at 2 million people or more) needed safer shelters last year and most of them are still living in temporary shelters in Nepal today. The current reconstruction process, proposed by the Nepalese government, excludes the poorest and most vulnerable people, including the landless and those who have lost or damaged important documents as a result of the earthquake. Marginalised groups – women, the landless, Dalits and indigenous farmers – are likely to be most severely affected.
Over 80 per cent of the certificates of land ownership do not include the names of women in the families, including the married women whose husbands have migrated to work. In Nepal, women may have trouble obtaining documents without a male backer.
Oxfam has set up a network of centres to advise women on their rights and help them to claim assistance from the government.
Oxfam urges the government to engage with communities in reconstruction to replace lost documents and rebuild the homes of those in greatest need as soon as possible.
Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world; the devastating earthquakes have put the lives of its people at further risk. We are now assisting survivors to rebuild their livelihoods and are providing them with basic services so that they can resume their lives and cope with the coming monsoon seasons.
Download Oxfam’s report: Building Back Right: Ensuring Equality in Land Rights and Reconstruction in Nepal (PDF)
Six Months On
It’s been six months since the first of two huge earthquakes devastated Nepal.
The disaster destroyed over 600,000 homes and left millions of Nepalese people in need of urgent humanitarian aid.
In the last six months, Oxfam emergency teams and the people of Nepal have been working hard to rebuild. Here’s what we’ve achieved together so far:
More than 35,000 people have accessed clean water, including 48 community water systems being repaired or installed.
Here, Sushila and Deepak collect clean water from an Oxfam tank. The tank supplies ten households in the village of Burunchili, where only 25 of its 200 houses were left standing. Oxfam supplied the village with clean water, toilets and hygiene kits.
Oxfam distributed 54,100 shelter kits and provided training to local builders and women in how to build more secure shelters.
Sangita learns to build a safe, temporary shelter in Sindhupalchok district. Sangita and her team have built 26 corrugated iron shelters so far. “On one hand I can do something productive for earthquake affected community people in my area. On the other, it’s a unique skill I have gathered as I can construct a house whenever there’s a need,” said Sangita.
Sanitation and Hygiene
Oxfam installed 7,911 toilets, distributed 49,200 hygiene kits and hosted 700 hygiene promotion events.
Deepak is happy to have access to a proper toilet, installed by Oxfam in the village of Burunchili. Having a clean toilet, soap and clean water for hand-washing, are crucial to prevent disease, particularly when many people live together after a disaster.
33,600 farmers received seeds to replant lost crops and lost or destroyed agricultural tools were replaced .
Radhika works her small field with tools from Oxfam. Radhika, her husband and their five-year-old son lost their house and cattle shed and toilet and now live in a temporary shelter with their in-laws. Oxfam has provided her with farming tools and a hygiene kit.
Additionally, 918 households also received cash to help clear debris — helping the recovery effort whilst giving people the chance to earn an income again. Cash-for-work initiatives offer the people affected an opportunity to earn an income as well as gain some dignity knowing they are helping to reconstruct their community.
Dil Maya Sunar (pictured second from right) helped clear the debris from a collapsed school block. “We generally work on the farm but this time, the earthquake swept away our land where we would grow corn, and I’ve nothing else to do,” said Dil Maya. She worked for 15 days under Oxfam’s Cash for Work Programme.