Nepal Earthquake - Fact Sheet #1 (FY16)

December 23, 2015

Violent clashes, unrest continue to impede the delivery of food, fuel, and other critical humanitarian supplies

UN, USG warn of a possible humanitarian crisis, call on parties to resolve border impasse

An estimated 81,000 earthquake-affected households require winterization support

The overall humanitarian situation in Nepal has steadily improved following the April 25 earthquake. The UN reports that most of the damaged health facilities have resumed essential public services; relief organizations have delivered food assistance to more than 2 million people in the 14 most-affected districts; and approximately 75 percent of earthquake-affected households have received shelter support. In addition, early recovery activities are underway in some districts, according to the UN and other relief organizations.

Numbers At A Glance

81,000

Approximate Number of Households Requiring Winterization Support

40,700

Approximate Number of People in Displacement Sites

8,891

Earthquake-Related Fatalities

605,254

Houses Destroyed by the Earthquake

289,255

Houses Damaged by the Earthquake

$422 million

Requested in the Nepal Earthquake 2015 Flash Appeal

Humanitarian Funding:

To Nepal To Date In FY2015:

USAID/OFDA $33,754,119
USAID/FFP $9,400,000
State/PRM $347,059
DoD $21,146,289
TOTAL $64,647,467

For more than three months, violent clashes and political unrest along Nepal’s southern border with India have resulted in at least 50 deaths and impeded cross-border trade and transportation of essential supplies, including fuel, food, medicine, and other relief commodities. The border crisis and resulting shortages are compounding logistical challenges in reaching earthquake-affected populations, many of whom reside in remote, high-altitude areas and require urgent winterization support.

An estimated 81,000 earthquake-affected households—approximately 400,000 people— require assistance, including emergency relief supplies and shelter support, during the November–February winter season, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports.

Since late September, violent clashes and political unrest along the Nepal–India border have resulted in at least 50 deaths and impeded the procurement and delivery of food, fuel, and other critical humanitarian supplies for earthquake-affected populations. By October, the tensions—sparked by the September 20 adoption of Nepal’s new constitution, which critics argue under-represents Nepal’s Madhesi and Tharu ethnic minorities—had resulted in a widespread fuel crisis, prompting Government of Nepal (GoN) authorities to introduce countrywide fuel rationing. In mid-October, OCHA reported a 70 percent shortage in Nepal’s monthly fuel requirement, with significant limitations for the Nepal earthquake response and recovery efforts.

In recent weeks, humanitarian partners—including the UN, U.S. Government (USG), and international aid organization representatives—have warned of a possible humanitarian crisis due to the critical supply shortages and called on parties to resolve the border impasse before the onset of severe winter weather, which will likely further hinder access to hard-to-reach communities. According to OCHA, an estimated 81,000 earthquake-affected households living in temporary shelters require shelter support and other relief commodities, including blankets, solar lamps, and winter clothes.

The UN World Food program (WFP) and the Logistics Cluster—the coordinating body for humanitarian logistics activities, comprising UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and other stakeholders—are working with the GoN to mitigate the impact of the fuel crisis on the earthquake response and recovery efforts. From October 21–November 15, the Logistics Cluster reported distributing more than 4,000 gallons of WFP-procured diesel to support the relief and winterization efforts of approximately 70 humanitarian organizations; this quantity of fuel is sufficient for one week of humanitarian operations, according to OCHA.

The governments of Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK recently provided more than $2.5 million to the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), extending its air services through December, according to a mid-November WFP press release. Between April 25 and November 5, UNHAS transported approximately 2,300 metric tons (MT) of humanitarian cargo and nearly 3,400 relief workers to hard-to-reach areas of Nepal.

To ensure the capacity of relief actors to rapidly respond to humanitarian needs during the winter season, USAID/OFDA is coordinating with the UK Department for International Development (DFID) to establish an Emergency Response Cell at the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Nepal. The Emergency Response Cell will be equipped with aircraft to support multi-sector monitoring and response capacity, prioritizing interventions for high-altitude communities. Since late April, USAID/OFDA has provided nearly $10.6 million to partners, including WFP, to enhance humanitarian logistics capacity and provide emergency relief items to address the needs of earthquake-affected households in Nepal.

During the latest International Organization for Migration (IOM) Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) round, conducted from October 27–November 11, IOM assessed 100 displacement sites in 12 earthquake-affected districts. DTM findings indicate that the number of displaced people sheltering at these sites—approximately 40,700 people— had decreased by more than 30 percent since early September. According to IOM, the decline in displaced people suggests that households may have returned to areas of origin to repair or rebuild their houses, or relocated to seek more productive livelihoods. Several factors, however, continue to inhibit population returns, including damaged or destroyed houses, fear of aftershocks and landslides, and lack of basic services.

Temporary shelters, constructed with corrugated galvanized iron sheeting, remained the most common form of shelter in displacement sites as of mid-November; however, displaced populations at 97 percent of the sites expressed concern that existing shelters will provide inadequate protection during the winter. As such, the top three priority needs of assessed populations included winter clothes, blankets, and floor mats.

USAID/OFDA continues to support the emergency shelter needs of earthquake-affected populations in Nepal. In FY 2015 and to date in FY 2016, USAID/OFDA has provided humanitarian organizations such as the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED), IOM, and Oxfam/Great Britain (Oxfam/GB) with nearly $8.3 million for emergency and transitional shelter and debris removal and management interventions.

With nearly $350,000 in State/PRM funding, The Tibet Fund (TTF), in coordination with the National Society for Earthquake Technology-Nepal (NSET), is supporting earthquake preparedness activities and earthquake resistant reconstruction at several Tibetan settlement sites in Nepal that were affected by the April 25 earthquake and subsequent aftershocks. TTF is also working with expert geologists from Italy’s University of Milan to conduct geological surveys of the sites to ensure the land is safe for continued habitation and reconstruction, scheduled to begin in late December.

In late November, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned of an impending health crisis, as more than three million children ages five years and younger are at risk of death or disease during the winter months due to critically low supplies of antibiotics, vaccines, and fuel for cooking and heating. International media and relief actors report that hospitals and health care facilities across Nepal have begun scaling back services due to insufficient fuel for ambulances and generators, as well as critical shortages in medical equipment and medicines. Moreover, humanitarian actors have expressed concern that the use of wood for household cooking and heating in response to kerosene and liquefied petroleum gas shortages may result in increased rates of acute respiratory infections.

Humanitarian partners are working to address critical shortages in medical supplies. In response to a request by the GoN Ministry of Health and Population, NGO Direct Relief airlifted $3.5 million of medicines and supplies, including antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, and medications to treat asthma and mental health illnesses, as well as hospital and laboratory supplies, in late November. An additional airlift is scheduled in December. Since late April, Direct Relief has procured and delivered nearly $29 million of requested medications and supplies for health care facilities throughout Nepal’s earthquake-affected districts.

USAID/OFDA has contributed nearly $1 million funding to Handicap International (HI) and the UN World Health Organization (WHO) for health interventions—including disease surveillance, communicable disease control, and mental health and psychosocial support—targeting earthquake-affected populations.

Ongoing disruptions in India–Nepal trade are contributing to food shortages in Nepal and significant increases in the price of staple foods, including cooking oil, lentils, rice, sugar, and salt, WFP reports. As of mid-December, the average price of cooking oil, lentils, and pulses in Nepal had increased by more than 30 percent since August, with some remote areas facing price increases of more than 50 percent. In November, WFP reported fuel-related delays in procuring and distributing food assistance to more than 224,000 earthquake-affected people. According to the UN, an estimated 500,000 people across 11 earthquake-affected districts remain acutely food insecure; humanitarian actors anticipate that the figure may increase if trade along Nepal’s southern border remains restricted.

To help earthquake-affected communities cope during the winter season, the Food Security Cluster is targeting an estimated 500,000 people with emergency assistance—including agricultural inputs, animal feed, cash, and food rations—between September and December. Of the targeted population, an estimated 225,000 vulnerable people residing at elevations exceeding 1,500 meters—or approximately 4,900 feet—are expected to receive agricultural seeds and tools, animal feed, cash support, and food assistance. In addition, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports providing more than 182,000 households across six of Nepal’s worst-affected districts with agricultural seeds and inputs, as well as animal feed supplements, since late April.

Since the April 25 earthquake, USAID/OFDA has provided more than $1 million to support agriculture, food security, and economic recovery interventions for earthquake-affected populations. In FY 2015, USAID/FFP provided $6.9 million to support WFP’s emergency food assistance operations in Nepal. In addition, with $2.5 million in USAID/FFP support, ACTED is providing short-term livelihoods assistance to approximately 2,250 food-insecure households in five of Nepal’s most earthquake-affected districts.

On April 25, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Gorkha District in central Nepal, approximately 48 miles northwest of Nepal’s capital city of Kathmandu, at a shallow depth of approximately nine miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The USG immediately issued a disaster declaration for Nepal due to the effects of the earthquake. Within hours of the seismic event, USAID/OFDA activated a Response Management Team in Washington, D.C., and deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART)—including urban search-and-rescue (USAR) specialists—to Nepal.

On May 12, a magnitude 7.3 aftershock struck Dolakha District, approximately 47 miles northeast of Kathmandu city, according to USGS. The aftershock caused further casualties and damage in areas affected by the April 25 earthquake.

Due to the continued humanitarian needs resulting from the earthquake, the USG re-declared a disaster for Nepal on October 15, 2015.

USAID remains committed to supporting the response and recovery needs of Nepal. Since the April 25 earthquake, USAID/Nepal has supported interventions aimed at promoting education, earthquake-resistant infrastructure and reconstruction, effective governance of reconstruction efforts, food security and livelihoods, health care access, and the protection of vulnerable populations, among other activities. More information on USAID/Nepal earthquake recovery efforts is available at https://www.usaid.gov/nepal/fact-sheets/nepal-earthquake-recovery-fact-s....

For nearly two decades, USAID/OFDA has supported disaster risk reduction (DRR) efforts in Nepal, including in the Kathmandu Valley. USAID/OFDA funding has enabled partners to identify, prepare, and preserve more than 80 open spaces in the Kathmandu Valley for humanitarian purposes; pre-position critical emergency relief supplies; and strengthen earthquake response capacity at the local and national levels in collaboration with the GoN, NGOs, private companies, and local communities. More information on USAID/OFDA’s DRR programs in Nepal and throughout South Asia is available at www.usaid.gov/what-we-do/working-crises-and-conflict/disaster-risk-reduc....

The most effective way people can assist relief efforts is by making cash contributions to humanitarian organizations that are conducting relief operations. A list of humanitarian organizations that are accepting cash donations for disaster responses around the world can be found at www.interaction.org.

USAID encourages cash donations because they allow aid professionals to procure the exact items needed (often in the affected region); reduce the burden on scarce resources (such as transportation routes, staff time, and warehouse space); can be transferred very quickly and without transportation costs; support the economy of the disaster-stricken region; and ensure culturally, dietary, and environmentally appropriate assistance.

More information can be found at:

Last updated: December 24, 2015

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