When two powerful earthquakes struck Nepal’s Kathmandu Valley in April and May 2015, the Red Cross responded immediately. Trained volunteers rescued people trapped in rubble, evacuated people to safety and gave first aid to those with shock, burns, wounds and broken bones.
Emergency response and shelter
In the first six months after the quake, the Red Cross continued to support people with shelter, water and health necessities including:
- 110,000 tents or tarpaulins for emergency shelter for families whose homes were damaged or destroyed
- 5.4 million litres of water supplied through tankers
- over 70,000 jerry cans so people could carry water
- 38,289 hygiene kits – containing soap, sanitary pads, bath towels, toilet paper, toothpaste, toothbrushes and razors – for people who had lost their homes
- 1,315 emergency toilets to replace those that had been destroyed
- 29,055 people learned how to stay healthy during the emergency through hand washing lessons in schools and guidance on using hygiene kits properly.
Cash grants give opportunities
To support people through Nepal’s legendary cold and snowy winter, the Red Cross gave cash grants of approximately £68 to 50,000 families – approximately 250,000 people in total. Getting money rather than goods allowed people to buy the warm clothes, bedding and other things they needed.
Many people also lost their livelihoods after the earthquake. For instance, thousands of farmers’ tools, seeds and equipment were damaged or destroyed. Cash grants of around £34 from the Red Cross have supported farmers to replace them and to buy food and medicine for livestock.
Rebuilding homes and planning for the future
The Red Cross is using a 'build back better' approach to the recovery. Masons and carpenters will be been trained in how to construct homes and water supplies that will be more earthquake resistant for the future.
We know that disaster response planning works in Nepal. Despite many volunteers’ own homes and businesses being destroyed, or losing family members, they rescued and treated thousands of people. Most worked through neighbourhood committees that had been formed to deal with disasters.
The British Red Cross continues to work with the Nepal Red Cross Society to support disaster planning so people will be ready in case of another emergency.
Read more about our work to prepare for and cope with earthquakes in Nepal.
Find out about our new teaching resources – Natural disasters: earthquakes.