Zerstörte Kulturstätten in Nepal. © GIZ

Earthquake at the top of the world – one year on

25.04.2016 – Temporary accommodation, health centres, and bricklaying courses: on behalf of the German Government, GIZ provided extensive support following the earthquake in Nepal and is now promoting reconstruction.

On 25 April 2015, the earth shook violently in Nepal. At a magnitude of 7.8, it was the worst earthquake in the region for more than 80 years. Numerous aftershocks followed in the weeks after the initial disaster, some of them severe. Approximately 9,000 people lost their lives and more than 22,000 suffered injuries.

Right from the outset, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH provided extensive support on behalf of the German Government. ‘After such a major disaster, the first thing people need is clean drinking water, something to eat and a roof over their heads,’ says Roland Steurer, GIZ Country Director Nepal. To enable people to get on with their lives, GIZ organised food and medicine, and also delivered construction materials, tools and energy-saving ovens to the villages, some of which were accessible only on foot. As a result, people were able to set up temporary housing just in time before the rainy season started. Moreover, equipped with small plastic greenhouses and seeds, they were able to grow vegetables and thus ensure their basic food security. ‘Just a few weeks ago, I visited Rasuwa District and saw the situation on the ground for myself. In the meantime, the local farmers have, among other things, been able to harvest several tonnes of tomatoes,’ explains Steurer.

To treat the injured swiftly and to ensure basic health care, GIZ set up maternity units and repaired health centres, and also supplied them with the medicines and equipment they needed. In all, GIZ provided assistance to almost 200 health care facilities across four districts. At present, measures are ongoing to reconstruct 39 health centres that were completely destroyed.

Once the acute emergency relief phase was over, reconstruction began, and it continues today. To enable people to generate income and enhance their prospects, GIZ provided support, for instance in the form of vocational training to qualify them as carpenters, electricians or goat farmers. ‘Among other things, we have trained 700 bricklayers, carpenters and joiners – including many women – and taught them about earthquake-proof construction. The idea is to promote reconstruction and foster disaster preparedness simultaneously,’ says GIZ expert Steurer. To provide nearly 2,500 pupils with regular lessons once more, GIZ is cooperating with the Norwegian Government to construct 15 schools in three districts. ‘Currently, lessons are taking place in temporary buildings, but we’re aiming to have the schools ready by the end of the year,’ explains Steurer.

Zerstörte Kulturstätten in Nepal. © GIZ
The earthquake on 25 April 2015 killed 9,000 people and injured more than 22,000 alone in Nepal. Many buildings and centuries-old cultural sites were destroyed. (Photograph: GIZ)

Notunterkünfte. © GIZ
People sought shelter and first aid in emergency accommodations. (Photograph: GIZ)

Verteilung von Wellblech. © GIZ
Corrugated sheets were given out for emergency housing. (Photograph: GIZ)

Ausgabe von warmen Wintersachen. © GIZ
Warm blankets and clothing were distributed to protect against the cold. (Photograph: GIZ)

Tomatenpflanzen in Plastikgewächshaus. © GIZ
Part of reconstruction: people affected by the earthquake grow tomatoes in greenhouses. (Photograph: GIZ)

Junge Maurerinnen bei der Ausbildung. © GIZ
These women received training as bricklayers for reconstruction efforts. (Photograph: GIZ)