UK humanitarian response to the Nepal earthquakes

UK humanitarian response to the Nepal earthquakes

April 23, 2016, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol.9 No 19, April 22,2016 (Baisakh 10,2073)

Following the devastating earthquakes suffered by Nepal in April and May 2015, the UK has played a leading role addressing the humanitarian needs of the Nepali people and supporting the long-term recovery and reconstruction efforts of the country.

 With a total commitment of £70 million to the earthquake relief effort, the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) has been one of the largest bilateral donors throughout both the immediate response phase and the difficult winter season faced by Nepal.

 The British public also showed their huge generosity to the people of Nepal by raising over £85 million for the Disaster Emergency Committee’s (DEC) Nepal appeal, of which £5 million was match-funded by the UK government.  

 In the immediate response, the UK’s preparedness work in Nepal meant that within a few hours of the earthquake UK aid was reaching hard-hit communities. In first few days alone, pre-positioned emergency shelter had reached around 10,000 families and immediate hygiene and sanitation facilities were provided for 25,000 people caught up in the earthquake affected regions.

Additionally, the UK deployed highly trained experts in search and rescue and trauma medicine, and a DFID-funded humanitarian cargo area at Kathmandu airport meant that aid was unloaded more quickly, speeding up the delivery of urgently-needed supplies across Nepal.

 Over the last year, DFID has provided humanitarian relief for hard to reach communities and to the thousands that remain displaced. UK support has already reached over 250,000 people with shelter, 50,000 people with hygiene kits and sanitation support, and 30,000 people with essential household items, including kitchen sets, solar lamps and water purification tablets.

 DFID support during the bleak winter season meant that over 200,000 people living at high altitudes were reached with vital cold weather support, including clothes, blankets and mattresses, to help them survive the freezing conditions. 

The well-being of girls and women has also been a top priority for DFID. Our support ensured 15,000 women and girls received dignity kits to help them maintain sanitation and hygiene whilst living without the privacy of a home. We provided support and advice to over 110,000 women and children through specially designed female friendly spaces. UK efforts have also helped intercept over 500 vulnerable women and children from being trafficked.

 The UK’s efforts are increasingly focused on helping the Nepali people with the longer term recovery of their country. This includes supporting rubble clearance and the restoration of vital infrastructure such as health services and police stations, and by helping vulnerable groups, including women and girls, rebuild their lives and livelihoods.

 UK is one of Nepal’s largest bilateral development partners. Over the last 2 years DFID has provided more than £170 million of development assistance to help reduce poverty and promote economic development in Nepal.

 The UK’s response to the Nepal earthquakes illustrates the strong friendship, mutual understanding and respect that has characterised the 200 year connection between the two countries.

 “We continue to monitor the humanitarian and recovery situation in Nepal, particularly for those who remain highly vulnerable because they have lost their homes or jobs. We will continue to work with the Government of Nepal to help ensure we are best addressing the needs of the Nepali people during this difficult time,” said a press release issued by British Embassy in Nepal.

 Key results

Key results from the UK Department for International Development’s response to the Nepal earthquake relief effort include:

·providing over 220,000 people with emergency shelter such as tarpaulin sheets, and over 60,000 people with more substantive temporary shelter which will tide people over as the rebuild their homes

· supporting over 200,000 people at high altitudes with winter support such as clothes, blankets and mattresses to help see them through the cold weather

.delivering essential household items to over 30,000 people in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake. These included kitchen sets, solar lamps, hygiene materials and water purification tablets.

. reaching approximately 100,000 people received cash transfers, which enable households to decide how best to meet their post-earthquake needs

.improving water, sanitation and hygiene facilities for 50,000 people, including through the provision of hygiene kits and by increasing access to sanitation

. providing 15,000 women and girls with dignity kits to support their reproductive health and protection needs, and delivering advice and support to over 110,000 women and girls through female friendly spaces

.supporting over 2,000 hours of helicopter operations to provide lifesaving humanitarian assistance over 1,000 metric tonnes of light cargo to communities in areas inaccessible by land

. funding nearly 80 personnel with specialist expertise to support the response in a number of different ways, including search and rescue and trauma medicine professionals 

. restoring healthcare services that will benefit 5,600,000 people living in earthquake affected districts

. providing essential health services that will benefit 60,000 people, for example immunisations and care for pregnant women and those giving birth

. supporting 22,000 people who have suffered the trauma of the earthquake with psychosocial services

. providing rehabilitation and physiotherapy services to 2,000 people, many of whom were injured in the earthquake

. Clearing more than 23,000 cubic metres of rubble from 238 unsafe public building and structures, allowing for communities to start rebuilding

. providing site management support to 36 temporary displacement camps and improving infrastructure, drainage and road access in 19 camps

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