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Nepal Earthquake: one year on

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on 25 April 2015 killed more than 8,800 people and damaged 800,000 homes. The reconstruction of Nepal is a huge task, led by the government. There's a long road ahead and much still to do.

The Nepal Region Earthquake Appeal raised $12.8 million from Australian donors to provide humanitarian support.

Here's how your donation helped people to cope and recover over the last 12 months.

The long, slow road to recovery

Because of you, Red Cross could quickly distribute life-saving relief supplies, including food for 2.5 million people and 5.4 million litres of drinking water, emergency shelter for 550,000 people with rebuilding tools for 360,000 more.

In January 2016, the Nepal Government launched its National Reconstruction Authority, which will be responsible for rebuilding homes. The country's recovery bill is expected to top 6.6. billion USD, with a nationwide reconstruction program to commence in mid 2016.

Red Cross recognises there is a long way to go. We have been supporting the government to develop stronger disaster laws, and will support the public authorities in the reconstruction task ahead.

In the meantime, we are training builders and masons in earthquake resistant techniques, rehabilitating schools and health facilities, and restoring water and sanitation systems.

Health - How you helped

  • 247,839 people provided with safe water
  • 70,454 families provided with sanitation facilities
  • 56,250 patients treated
  • 7 fully-equipped field hospitals
  • 575,605 people reached by community health and first aid
  • 98,640 families received hygiene kits

Sarita's baby was born in a Red Cross field hospital, just hours after a powerful aftershock devastated Chautara on 12 May.

Families and children - How you helped

  • 60,166 people reached with psychosocial support (help with processing the emotional impact of the disaster)
  • 2,461 people reconnected with their relatives
  • 403 dead persons identified and returned to their families

Eleven-year-old Nisha* lost her home during a 7.3 magnitude aftershock on 12 May. She and her family now live in a temporary shelter in Dolakha.

The last 12 months have been particularly hard for children, not only because of what they lost in the earthquake but what they had to face afterwards.

"There were plenty of kids who had friends who died," says Australian aid worker Sally Chapman. "Others had to go to work to help their families survive."

Red Cross worked closely with Nepal Government agencies to support unaccompanied children, and provided child-friendly spaces where they could play, draw and talk, puppet shows and theatre to explore issues of loss and trauma, and help them transition back to school.

Listen to Sally Chapman in the 'Kids' episode of our How Aid Works podcast, free on iTunes or listen here on our website.

Emergency grants give people dignity and choice

  • 41,707 families received emergency cash transfers
  • 50,281 families received cash grants for winter essentials

Ranjana bought her daughters warm winter clothing with their Red Cross cash grant.

With thousands of families still sleeping under tents or tarpaulins, the Red Cross team had to decide how best to help as winter approached. The border between Nepal and India closed in September, making it difficult to bring in relief supplies.

Cash grants were the obvious solution: they enabled people to buy whatever their families needed, from local markets wherever possible. Ranjana received 10,000 rupees and bought winter clothing for the girls and nutritious biscuits for her youngest children, aged two.

"People really appreciated the flexibility that money gave them," says Max Santner from the International Federation of Red Cross.

Shelter - How you helped

  • Emergency shelter (tarpaulins) 130,334 families
  • Training in shelter construction 6,056 carpenters

A young woman takes home some blankets, part of a shelter self-recovery kit that included tools, tarpaulins and kitchen items.

Farzana Akther, a member of an International Red Cross response team, noticed something odd about the people arriving to collect relief items from Nepal Red Cross in Sindhuli district. Nearly all of them were men. She decided to find out where the women went, and started knocking on doors and having conversations.

"I heard that they were not allowed to go outside the house," she says. "So I told them that I am from Bangladesh, and I am a woman. I told them that I feel secure. That it is their right to claim their things."

Her welcome worked. "After that I saw a lot of women at the distribution point. I did it from my heart for them. That's my achievement."

Please support our ongoing work

We can't stop disasters from coming but we CAN take steps to protect lives and livelihoods.

Please donate to our disaster relief and recovery work. You'll help provide valuable support to our emergency services staff and volunteers as they prepare, respond and provide support to communities during and after disasters. You will know your donation has made an important contribution to our work whenever you see a Red Cross Emergency Services team in action.

* Some names changed to protect privacy.

Photos: IFRC/Paula Bronstein; IFRC; IFRC/Sailendra Kharel; Danish Red Cross/Poul Henning Neilsen.

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