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Surviving, rebuilding, preparing

One year after Nepal's devastating earthquake, Red Cross is still helping families to endure and rebuild.

Friday April 15, 2016

Dolma and her son
Dolma and her baby , born two weeks after the 25 April earthquake. They barely escaped with their lives when a powerful aftershock on 12 May collapsed the shed they were staying in. All photos: IFRC/Carlo Heathcote

On 25 April 2015, the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in Nepal were shattered by the worst earthquake to hit the country since 1934.  

One year later, survivors are healing, and starting to rebuild  their homes and get their lives back on track. Through the generosity of donors from around the world, Red Cross has been able to stand with them.   

A safe place to sleep
With over 800,000 homes ruined in the quake, shelter has been the most difficult part of the recovery operation.  

Following the earthquake, Nepal Red Cross provided more than 130,000 families with tarpaulins for emergency shelter. Thousands of families are still living under tarpaulins or in temporary shelters; however Nepal's National Reconstruction Authority is now finalising guidelines for rebuilding homes across the country.  

In preparation, we are training stone masons, carpenters and builders in earthquake-resistant building techniques. Teams are now working on model houses, to demonstrate simple methods of making homes stronger.  

Maintaining health and hygiene
Red Cross treated more than 56,000 people in field hospitals after the earthquake. Since then, we have been working to prevent disease outbreaks by providing safe drinking water, restoring toilets and other sanitation facilities, and supporting community health and first aid.  

The psychological impact of the earthquake was just as severe as the physical. Australian child protection specialists like Clare Groves helped set up special programs for children: tents where they could resume their education while schools were being repaired, and safe spaces where they could play again and eventually talk about nightmares and fears.

Cash provides dignity and choice
We provided cash grants to more than 50,000 families living in tents or temporary shelters. This helped them buy what they needed for the winter: warm clothing, blankets, quilts and food for their children.  

Cash grants also helped farmers like Amrit Silwal (above) to buy seeds and tools to restore their livelihoods and feed their families.  

Preparing for the next 'big one'
The 25 April earthquake caused terrible damage and loss; yet it was not the cataclysmic earthquake scientists have long predicted in the region. Nepal also remains vulnerable to glacial flooding to avalanches, drought, landslides and other hazards.  

Australian Red Cross will continue to support Nepal Red Cross in training emergency response teams, stocking and positioning relief supplies,  and strengthening the systems required to respond to any disaster. We are also working to strengthen disaster laws that regulate and coordinate the entry of aid supplies and personnel into the country.  

We are grateful to everyone who donated to our Nepal Region Earthquake Appeal. Thank you for standing with the families of Nepal as they recover from one earthquake and prepare for the next disaster to come.  

To help in times of emergency:
Every donation we receive for our Disaster Response and Recovery work helps Australian Red Cross continue to be there for local and international communities struggling in the wake of a disaster. Please donate now