From emergency relief to early recovery for earthquake-affected communities in Nepal
On April 25th 2015, a 7.8 Richter scale earthquake struck Nepal causing unprecedented devastation. The catastrophe rendered some 8.1 million individuals in dire need of humanitarian assistance with over half of all districts in Nepal severely damaged in the earthquakes wake. ACTED’s Rapid Emergency Assessment Coordination Team entered Nepal two days after this devastating tremor with the intention of reaching remote communities with vital emergency aid. Through engaging in the provision of emergency and winterized shelter kits, food and non-food items, water, hygiene and sanitation support, and stimulating local economies, ACTED has been vigorously addressing the urgent needs of affected communities.
Providing temporary shelters for those with damaged or fully destroyed homes
With an estimate of over 900,000 fully or partially destroyed homes in Nepal, ACTED set out to provide vulnerable populations with temporary shelters during the emergency period. Following rapid needs assessments, ACTED chose to intervene in 7 highly affected districts, namely Kathmandu Valley, Dhading, Sindhupalchok, Dolakha, Solukhumbu, Okhaldhunga and Ramechhap. In 2015, ACTED distributed emergency and winterized shelters, with corrugated galvanised iron sheets, tarpaulins, fixing toolkits, and non-food items, providing beneficiaries with a temporary shelter or materials to fix their damaged house, and improving their quality of life. Overall, ACTED has been a catalyst for shelter support to 156,300 earthquake-affected individuals.
Addressing the immediate water, sanitation and hygiene needs of earthquake-affected communities
Post-earthquake assessments estimated that 4.2 million Nepali were in urgent need of drinking water, sanitation and hygiene assistance. Moreover, the growing number of internally displaced people put tremendous pressure on already insufficient communal water and sanitation services. It thus became a priority for ACTED in Nepal to ensure people live in dignity and reduce the risks of diseases linked with poor sanitation and unsafe water. In 5 districts, ACTED reached a staggering 56,659 beneficiaries through the distribution of 3,093 hygiene kits, rehabilitation of 18 water points, provision of 350 temporary latrines and through sensitizing 3,173 households on good hygiene practices.
Camp coordination and camp management assisting internally displaced people
Across Nepal, 40,952 internally displaced people lacked shelter, water and sanitation facilities and income generating activities. To answer an uncovered need, ACTED has implemented camp coordination and management activities in Sindhupalchok and Dhading districts. As the living conditions in the sites became worrisome, ACTED worked to establish camp committees to voice their needs, coordinated with all stakeholders (local authorities and development actors) to provide basic humanitarian services - through for example the distribution of shelter items or the rehabilitation of latrines - and advocated for long-term solutions, such as the modalities of their return in their place of origin. These activities supported over 10,000 highly vulnerable internally displaced persons.
Towards reconstruction in Nepal
In 2016, the mission in Nepal will transition out of the emergency phase into the broader recovery and reconstruction phase. In this effort, ACTED will be supporting the crucial need for training of skilled construction workers in ‘Build Back Safer’ techniques. In addition, ACTED teams will work to provide livelihood opportunities to earthquake-affected communities, as it is important for households to restart their economic activities to escape the cycle of poverty. Lastly, ACTED will continue to be part of all coordination mechanisms, at national and district level, to ensure coordination among all stakeholders during the crucial reconstruction phase in Nepal.
Economic opportunities breeding shelter reconstruction
In the remote village of Suri belonging to the district of Dolakha, locals work tirelessly tying down slabs of corrugated galvanised iron sheets and repairing cracked building facades. While these labourers may be paid for their work, their sweat and ardent assistance have a deep value that transcends the monetary. In a community that features pervasive destruction, peer to peer support has fostered a level of cohesion and unity, highlighting the resilience of the people of Nepal. Cash for work programs implemented by ACTED in Village District Committees like Suri have been able to spur a temporary income, while garnering vital social interactions that re-establish normalcy.
8 months after the earthquakes: ACTED’s teams remain mobilized to support affected communities in Nepal
The country took a step backward in terms of sanitation and hygiene due to the earthquakes and their consequences. The National Sanitation and Hygiene Master Plan 2011 had envisioned 100% sanitation coverage, but this seems unlikely given the level of destruction in some areas, and that many households lost everything. In order to buttress the national plan and to provide the earthquake victims with much needed support, ACTED intervened to improve access of vulnerable communities to sanitation and hygiene items.
Department for International Development (DFID) – United Kingdom, ENGIE, European Commission Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection (ECHO), International Medical Corps (IMC), International Organization for Migration (IOM), Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), ShelterBox, Suez Environnement Initiatives, USAID Food For Peace (FFP)