On April 25th, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the Himalayan country of Nepal, the worst the country had seen in 80 years. It killed thousands and left hundreds of thousands homeless. The earthquake was shallow in depth, and hundreds of aftershocks followed, including one on May 12th that was 7.3 in magnitude, which caused further devastation in communities that were just beginning to pick up the pieces.
Nepal is among the world’s poorest countries, with approximately one-quarter of its people living below the poverty line. More than 80 percent of Nepalis live in rural areas, many of which are extremely remote. More than one-third live more than four hours away from an all-weather road. This continues to complicate the earthquake response, as affected communities are scattered across the hillsides and valleys and often only reachable by foot or light aircraft.
The worst Nepal had seen in 80 years, the earthquake killed thousands and left hundreds of thousands of people homeless.
The arrival of monsoon season forced Concern and other humanitarian organizations into a race against time to help people build shelters and give them to tools to prevent outbreaks of disease, including access to safe drinking water and emergency latrines.
Concern Worldwide is working in some of Nepal’s hardest-hit areas together with two local partner organizations, Rural Reconstruction Nepal (RRN) and Nepal Water and Health (NEWAH), to distribute shelter and essential relief supplies to 14,000 households. The kits include tarps, rope, blankets, and sleeping mats so people can stay dry and warm as well as jerry cans, hygiene items, water purification tablets, and other items that help people stay healthy while reconstruction and recovery efforts get underway.
The arrival of the monsoon season forced Concern and other humanitarian organizations into a race against time to help people build shelters and give them to tools to prevent outbreaks of disease, including access to safe drinking water and emergency latrines.
Concern and NEWAH are building emergency latrines, which will be critical in preventing outbreaks of waterborne illnesses. We are also working to get families into transitional shelters that will be able to withstand months of heavy rains and wind. We will be doing this by providing families with shelter materials, such as corrugated iron sheeting, as well as quick access to cash, both through cash transfers and cash-for-work opportunities. We plan to center our cash-for-work programs on much-needed recovery efforts, such as school rebuilding and rubble removal.
HOW OUR RESPONSE IS DIFFERENT
In our distributions, Concern Worldwide, together with our local partner organizations, is ensuring that the assistance reaches the most vulnerable families. Before any distribution takes place, we inform local communities at least 24 hours in advance so that they can make their way to the pick-up location. For families who live in very remote locations, this is critical, as it can sometimes take them hours to travel to a collection point.
We also work hand-in-hand with local officials to create lists of families who need assistance. We require a member of the family sign either their name or give a fingerprint when they receive the items. This helps us make sure that everyone—and every kit—is accounted for.
In our distributions, Concern Worldwide, together with our local partner organizations, is ensuring that the assistance reaches the most vulnerable families.
We also make sure that every distribution has a mechanism for people to file complaints and suggestions and receive feedback so that we are accountable to the communities we are there to help. As we move from response to recovery, we will continue this consultative approach so that communities are not simply recipients, but partners in our work to help Nepal rebuild and recover.