The Nepal Earthquake Two Years On: A long road to recovery

Topics: Emergencies and Disasters Worldwide, Our Impact on the Ground
April 25, 2017

Canadian Red Cross aid worker sitting next to a small child and her mother in Nepal

Corrie Butler with the Canadian Red Cross sits inside the home of Urmila Shrestha. Urmila is working hard to generate enough income to support her two children on her small plot of land in the village of Karelthok.

On April 25, 2015, Nepal experienced one of two devastating earthquakes that cost the lives of nearly 9,000 people and left 700,000 families displaced. 

Thousands of Nepal Red Cross volunteers across the country responded within hours of the disaster — searching through the rubble for survivors, providing first aid to the many injured, reunifying lost loved ones and ensuring people received critical basic needs, such as water, food and shelter. 

Canadians were quick to help, joining 29 other countries around the world to support the efforts on the ground. Responding to the dire-need of health-care, Canadian Red Cross set up an emergency field hospital within days in the hard-hit rural community of Dhunche, close to the earthquake’s epicenter.

“The remote areas are where people are most vulnerable,” says Richard McCabe, Canadian Red Cross Representative in Nepal. “This is where Red Cross has the capacity to deliver and work with communities.”

Read the Nepal Earthquake 2 Year Donor Update

Now, two years on, the generosity of Canadians is still being felt in communities across Nepal. With the help of the Red Cross, the people of Nepal are slowly rebuilding their lives: reconstructing earthquake-resistant homes, gaining better access to clean water and sanitation, receiving quality health-care and earning an income to support their families.

The Canadian Red Cross also continues to work with the Nepal Red Cross to strengthen their preparedness for future disasters and capacity to deliver sustainable programming and services.

Canadian Red Cross aid worker speaks to local Nepalese man with rubble in background.

Richard McCabe, Country Representative IFRC/Canadian Red Cross in Rasuwa speaks to a resident where the CRC is working together with the American Red Cross on earthquake recovery.

With every disaster comes challenges and what Nepal has faced in two years is unique. A booming population means increased demand for infrastructure, differences in social caste systems and ethnic groups provide additional complex community dynamics and washed-out roads and rockslides often stand in the way of remote communities that need Red Cross’ help the most.

Despite these challenges, the Red Cross has made steady progress and is committed to helping the people of Nepal.

“It’s been a difficult road,” says McCabe. “We expect that it will take up to 10 years for some of the communities to be back in a position where they’ve fully recovered from passed the hurdle of the earthquake.”

However long the road to recovery takes, Red Cross will continue to provide a vital role in empowering communities, families and individuals as they rebuild their lives and gain new hope for a prosperous future. 

Photos: Canadian Red Cross / Marko Kokic