Recovery following the earthquakes in April/May 2015

Project description

Project title: Recovery programme in Nepal
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Nepal
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP)
Overall term: 2015 to 2016

On 25 April 2015, Nepal was struck by a severe earthquake, which was followed by a powerful aftershock on 12 May 2015. The epicentre lay around 80 kilometres northwest of the capital Kathmandu. 8,800 people died as a result of the quake and around 22,000 others were injured. According to government figures, about 8 million people were affected in the aftermath. Despite the efforts of its government, the country – well known as a high-risk region – was not prepared for a significant earthquake.

Houses and infrastructure were partially or completely destroyed across large parts of the region. Around 1.4 million people had no access to food and clean water. Hygiene conditions were catastrophic, as was basic medical care. Many hundreds of health facilities were destroyed or damaged.

The situation for the population and relief efforts was exacerbated by inaccessible mountain locations, damaged road infrastructure and heavy rain and snow during the monsoon season. Aid workers were unable to provide adequate short-term emergency shelter, sanitation or clean water. Moreover, members of the caste of ‘untouchables’, and single women and children in particular, often became the targets of discrimination, harassment and abuse.

Families affected by the earthquake in selected districts are once again able to meet their own basic needs.

In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, an emergency intervention programme put in place by GIZ ensured acute basic medical care. The recovery programme is geared to the country’s long-term stabilisation and rehabilitation.

The project supports the Ministry of Health and Population and the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development with managing and coordinating measures and preparing for recovery. It targets the districts of Bhaktapur, Dhading, Nuwakot and Rasuwa. Selection of these districts was based on the extent of the damage, as well as current and previous activities involving German development cooperation in these areas, thereby ensuring rapid implementation of the measures.

The focus is on three areas of action:

  1. Essential health care provision, in particular for pregnant women and newborn babies, through recovery, reconstruction and technical support for health facilities;
  2. Support with setting up short-term shelters and providing basic household equipment; and
  3. Open Fund for rapid response to needs identified by target groups, for example single women, widows and marginalised ethnic groups.

Beyond providing support with disaster management, the project also strengthens the ability of communities to manage disaster prevention.

With GIZ support, the Nepalese Ministry of Health was able to draft a detailed recovery programme. GIZ has since initiated the rebuilding of 33 health centres and repairs to six facilities in the districts of Dhading and Nuwakot (completion scheduled for early 2016).

Responsibility for equipping the health system in Dhading was handled by the international non-governmental organisation One Heart World-Wide, and in Nuwakot by the international aid organisation ADRA. GIZ played a key liaison role in establishing these arrangements. As a result, basic primary health care services are now being provided again.

Up to 6,000 households were supported with preparations for surviving the onset of winter and problems linked to the earthquake. For example, the project supplied energy-efficient stoves and household utensils, materials and tools to build short-term emergency shelters, and 10,000 blankets and 12,000 mattresses. It also carried out measures and training courses to secure livelihoods and procured agricultural machinery, seed and other equipment.

With the support of the District Disaster Response Committee, the project was able to strengthen considerably the coordination and response capabilities of the authorities charged with managing activities in the aftermath of a disaster.

A fund promotes creative initiatives and provides emergency aid in specific emergency situations. Thanks to this fund it was possible to provide relatively rapid support with overcoming the after-effects of the earthquake to those population groups most affected by it.

Various non-governmental organisations have so far submitted 16 individual measures. The activities proposed include art and theatre programmes, conservation of cultural monuments, support for women’s groups, private sector initiatives and income-generating measures.

In addition, 10 historically valuable private residences have been saved. This was facilitated by the supply of appropriate materials in close collaboration with the relevant ministry and Bhaktapur municipality.


Berthold Boes