A magnitude 7.8 earthquake centred 80km north of the capital Kathmandu on April 25, 2015 created widespread damage, prompting a global humanitarian response. About 9,000 people were confirmed killed, more than 700,000 building collapsed partially or entirely. The remote communities in the Himalaya mountains were hit the hardest. In addition to bringing down buildings and disrupting infrastructure, the earthquake caused landslides and avalanches in mountainous regions.
Just over half the country's 79 districts had been affected, with the central and western region being worst-hit. Some 8.1 million people needed emergency assistance. Strong aftershocks forced people to sleep under tarpaulins or in tents on streets or in gardens, clear of falling debris. According to UNOCHA 2.8 million people lost their homes or were forced to stay elsewhere, while a total of 1.4 million urgently needed food supplies.
Relief efforts in the coming months were slowed down by civil unrest and political instability, which caused trade embargoes and delayed the delivery of much needed building material and other relef items. Today, almost two years after the earthquake, the reconstruction of permanent shelter hasfinally begun.
After the immediate large-scale emergency response, the focus is now on reconstruction for permanent, quake proff housing. LWF assists communities in the three districts of the Kathmandu valley (Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur) as well as the remote mountaineous regions of Rasuwa, Sindhupalchowk and Dhading. LWF work includes training of masons, support in reconstruction, rebuilding of livelihoods and psychosocial support.
The LWF is working with the Nepalese government, the United Nations system and church partners in the ACT Alliance network to coordinate the response. Kathmandu is the site of the LWF regional emergency hub, which has been activated.
Since 1984, the LWF has worked in several regions of Nepal, including the heavily-affected Bhaktapur, Lamjung and Pokhara regions. With staff on the ground and infrastructure in place, it is well-positioned to offer assistance. Some of the affected communities LWF worked with before.
The LWF provides relief on the basis of need and employs local staff regardless of ethnicity, in line with major humanitarian guidelines and standards.