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)
Holding new life after the earthquake
Rama KC (23) holds her newborn son, *Hari (45 days old). They have taken shelter in Tundikhel IDP camp in Kathmandu, Nepal, after the magnitude 7.8 earthquake left them homeless.
‘I was having lunch in the kitchen when the earthquake struck. Hari was asleep in his cot in another room. I ran to him immediately. He was rolling around in his cot, which was shaking violently. I thought he would die.’
Oxfam has installed latrines and a large water tank, which can hold up to 11,000 litres of clean water, in the camp.
(Photo Credit: Aubrey Wade / Oxfam)*name changed
Cherishing every drop of water
*Roshmi (7) collects water in plastic bottles from a pipe near the temporary shelter in Sankhu where she and her relatives live. Around 980 houses have collapsed there from the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday 25 April, 2015.
(Photo Credit: Aubrey Wade / Oxfam) *name changed
Serving the community in the midst of disaster
Oxfam volunteer Shekhou Khadka (23) works to erect a 11,000 litre water tank for clean drinking water at the Tundikhel IDP camp in Kathmandu, Nepal. He is one of 500 volunteers that have been trained through our urban risk management programme to respond in the event of an earthquake. ‘I'm sleeping under canvas outside our house, but my family is safe. I became a volunteer because I wanted to serve my community. The big challenges that lie ahead: supplying food, water, health care, and the scarcity of food.’
On Saturday 25 April 2015, an earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter Scale struck Nepal.
(Photo Credit: Aubrey Wade / Oxfam)