On April 25, 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake—the strongest quake since 1934—devastated Nepal.
The fateful tremors flattened entire villages, from the slopes of the Himalayas to the city of Kathmandu. The death toll reached almost 9,000 with many thousands more injured. Families lost their homes and livelihoods. Many had no other choice but to sleep outside, with no access to food, water or sanitation facilities.
With the generous support of Presbyterians, PWS&D was able to respond through ACT Alliance members on the ground to address urgent needs and provide humanitarian aid in the form of food, water, shelter, essential non-food items and psycho-social support.
In response, PWS&D helped provide:
- 12,000 households with shelter
- 15,000 households with water, sanitation and health assistance
- 20,000 households with food and non-food items
- 14,000 individuals with psychosocial support
Through partners at Canadian Foodgrains Bank, PWS&D contributed an additional $45,000 to provide three months of food assistance to 5,000 individuals.
This life-saving assistance has helped ease the pain of want and bring hope to those repairing their homes and restoring their livelihoods in Nepal.
PWS&D continues to support long-term relief and recovery efforts in Nepal.
Nepal Earthquake News and Resources
[accordion_section title=”Embracing Life in Nepal”]
Sixty-five year old Dharma Lal Shrestha remembers watching his neighbours run from their homes as the ground beneath him began to tremble.
Dharma’s own home had crumbled to dust. For a time, he had nothing to eat. Yet, in the face of unimaginable loss and destruction, he and his neighbour Krishna were simply thankful to be alive.
Through donations to PWS&D, they have received food packages, tarpaulins for shelter, mattresses, hygiene kits, water purifiers, tools to build toilets and emotional support from local partners.
This assistance is enabling Dharma and Krishna to rebuild their lives and hope for a brighter tomorrow.
“I lost everything but got a new life,” shares Krishna. “Despite being buried under a house wall, I am still alive.”
“They were a great help to us”
—Dharma, after receiving aid through PWS&D
Your generous support is bringing comfort and alleviating the suffering of the many thousands touched by this disaster. Your donations have been put to work immediately and are contributing to:
- Distributing emergency food rations to almost 8,000 families
- 7,200 families receiving shelter kits
- Over 9,000 families receiving blankets, cooking kits and solar lights
- Improved water and sanitation through the distribution of over 6,000 hygiene kits
- Ensuring that those affected by the earthquake—particularly children—received psychosocial support through sports, music, play and crafts
As long-term rehabilitation efforts progress, PWS&D’s support will ensure that people affected by the devastation have access to food, shelter, water, and psychological and emotional support.
PWS&D continues to respond through the ACT Alliance, which has helped assist over 220,000 people since the Nepal earthquakes struck.
[accordion_section title=”Food Assistance Aids Recovery”]
Kanchii Tamang lost almost everything when the earthquake struck Nepal almost a year ago. She had been living in a hut in the village of Sipapokhare, which she describes losing, “It was like a dream when I saw my home turned into a ruin within seconds.” Though she lost her home and all of the corn and millet she had been saving, Kanchii was thankful that the things most precious to her—her husband and three children—survived the disaster.
In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, the family shared a common kitchen with 12 other families and ate food that was found in the debris of collapsed houses. In order to survive the family reduced the number and size of meals they were eating, as well as the variety of food. Shops in the village had also been destroyed and soon the scavenged food was gone as well. It was a dire situation.
For the first week after the earthquake, no relief organizations were able to reach the village as landslides had washed the roads away. Kanchii and her family were grateful when the first food aid eventually reached them, but were still concerned, as it wasn’t enough to sustain them until their next harvest.
In response, PWS&D stepped in—through our partner Nazarene Compassionate Ministries at the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. Rice, pulses (lentils), oil, sugar and salt were provided in enough quantity to last several months.
Kanchii shares that she’s not certain what her family would have eaten if not for the food aid. Plus, she adds, “My children were very happy to receive the regular food.”
Kanchii is feeling real hope for the future now. She has some of the food rations remaining, and has also been able to harvest her own cornfields. While there is still much to be done to rebuild after such a disaster, she knows that at least her family won’t be hungry as they recover.
[accordion_section title=”Village Model Reconstruction in Nepal”]
The village of Sanogoan, at the edge of Kathmandu Valley, was one of the many villages devastated by the earthquake that struck Nepal last April. In the aftermath of the earthquake the town turned into a tented camp, after so many houses were destroyed.
The village has come together to build these first 90 homes. The tight-knit community is making bricks together and taking turns rebuilding. The first bricks will go to the most vulnerable family—whose home will then act as a model house.While home reconstruction in Nepal has been delayed, 90 families from the village have recently received the funds needed to rebuild their homes. Presbyterian World Service & Development, through the ACT Alliance and Lutheran World Federation, is supporting these efforts.
Hope After Despair
Kabita Shrestha is one of the brickmakers. While she may look like she doesn’t have a care, Kabita’s life has been difficult. After losing her mother at a young age, she didn’t have the chance to go to school or start a family. Instead she took care of her father and brother. Kabita was injured during the earthquake and lost everything when her home collapsed.
But nine months after the earthquake she’s starting to feel some relief. Kabita’s family was one of the first selected to receive funds to rebuild their home—and it has taken an enormous weight off her shoulders.In the wake of the earthquake, Kabita struggled even more to meet her family’s needs.
Kabita now feels hope for the future. Together with her friends, she talks about what will make up her dream home: “An inside toilet, a comfy kitchen with piped water and a rooftop for sun bathing and drying vegetables.”
If all goes well, Kabita will hopefully be moving into her dream home before the end the year.
*Adapted from a story by Lucia de Vries on the Lutheran World Federation website.
[accordion_section title=”Women Lead the Way in Reconstruction Efforts”]
It takes a village to restore a village. Nine months after the April 25, 2015 earthquake destroyed 600,000 buildings throughout Nepal, the people of Sanogoan are working together to rebuild their homes and their lives.
Women lead the way
The town still looks like a tented camp—white tents in neat rows, with solar lights hanging from the roofs. Women talk and laugh as they make bricks together. These bricks will not necessarily be for their own immediate benefit, but will help the most vulnerable, who were first selected by the community to construct their new homes. The most exciting thing is that these women are not just reconstructing their homes, but also improving their lives and livelihoods.
Emergency response officer Madhu Sunam coordinates home reconstruction and livelihood development in the village. She enjoys her challenging job and the major change she has seen among the women in the community. “When I first came women hardly spoke in meetings. They were used to doing household work and farming. The earthquake pushed them out of their comfort zone. The women are now quite vocal, and in many ways lead the efforts in reconstruction.”
The small business development program that PWS&D is supporting through the ACT Alliance and Lutheran World Federation is doing even more to promote women’s empowerment. Sixteen people were selected by the community to develop a small business with the support of 15,000 Nepali rupees (about $185 CDN).
Saru Shrestha was one of those selected. Nineteen years old and from a family of 10, Saru had to leave school after the earthquake to help care for her younger siblings.
With the seed money, Saru established a small shop selling tea, snacks and sweets. “At first it was hard, especially arguing with people who buy things on credit. But I feel less shy now,” she shares. Saru uses most of her income to pay school fees for her siblings. Some of it she saves for the future though. “My dream is to open a second shop, selling cosmetics,” says the young entrepreneur.
*Adapted from a story by Lucia de Vries, LWF correspondent.
[accordion_section title=”Emotional Support Program Unites Communities in Nepal”]
It’s Saturday morning in Ghusel, Nepal. The rising sun casts light upon an expanse of makeshift shelters—a sea of bamboo, wood and tarpaulins.
When the devastating earthquake shook Nepal last April, all but five of the 355 houses in Ghusel were reduced to rubble.
The physical impact of the quake is still visible. It is the emotional damage—post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression—that is more difficult to spot. Yet it is a significant and challenging burden for many earthquake survivors.
Krishna Kumari Mahat is one such survivor.
For the past few months, she has found a way to manage her worries. In the spirit of her community, Krishna Kumari has found her support system.
More Than Counselling
PWS&D supports a program in Nepal—through the ACT Alliance—that offers psychosocial assistance to individuals living in five districts affected by the earthquake. The program’s aim is to take people’s minds off the earthquake—and the struggles they have faced since—and to help them freely express their thoughts and emotions.
The program equips village leaders to counsel and support the people of Ghusel. But it also facilitates a variety of community-based activities such as singing workshops, sports, art and musical activities.
Krishna Kumari attends a singing workshop twice a week.
“I am very worried about our house, how and when we will rebuild it, if ever,” she says. “But when I sing I forget my worries for a moment.”
The opportunity to express herself has been transformative. But for Krishna Kumari it is the encouragement of other survivors that has helped her embrace hope and cast away fear.
“I feel united with the other villagers who all experienced the same thing. It’s one good thing that came out of the earthquake.”
With a smile she adds, “Come back next time. I will be better then.”
*Adapted from a story by Lucia de Vries on the Lutheran World Federation website.
Download the newest Nepal Earthquake response bulletin insert:
Earthquake in Nepal: One Year Later - Bulletin Insert