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CRS in Nepal

One of the poorest countries in the world, nearly half of Nepal's population lives below the poverty line. Ten years of conflict cost many Nepalese their lives and battered the Himalayan kingdom's already weak economy.

In addition, each year Nepal experiences multiple natural disasters such as monsoon floods, landslides, fires and drought. Most parts of the country are also seismically active. Catholic Relief Services focuses primarily on supporting Caritas Nepal in emergency aid to families affected by disasters.

A major disaster occurred in April 2015 when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck between Pokhara and Kathmandu. The earthquake affected more than 8 million people and killed more than 8,000. Less than three weeks later, a second powerful earthquake hit Nepal, worsening damage in several areas of the country. With 25% of the population of Nepal living in extreme poverty, and 83% of Nepal’s people living in rural areas, the impact of the quake on lives, livelihoods and dignity was immense.

Within hours of the earthquake, CRS had released pre-positioned stocks of emergency shelter materials, water and hygiene kits, and blankets. CRS and Caritas Nepal targeted 15,000 households in the most affected areas in Lamjung, Gorkha, Dhading and Nuwakot districts, and, depending on assessment results, supplied emergency shelter, blankets, plastic mats, emergency latrines, tools, water treatment and personal hygiene kits. 

Following this immediate relief, CRS and Caritas Nepal provided corrugated iron sheets, sanitation materials, and cash as transitional support for households to support shelter and basic needs during the monsoon season from June to August. As the monsoon season passes, CRS and Caritas Nepal are working with families to rebuild their houses using construction methods that make them less vulnerable to earthquakes and other natural disasters. 


People Served: 191,433

Population: 31,551,305 (July 2015 est.)

Size: 56,136 sq mi; about the size and shape of Tennessee

CRS' History in Nepal

Given the magnitude of natural disasters affecting Nepal each year, CRS began supporting Caritas Nepal in their emergency response efforts. Caritas Nepal is the social arm of the Catholic Church in Nepal, providing support to marginalized and vulnerable communities.

CRS’ ability to rapidly assess and address needs in the aftermath of disasters in Nepal, like the 2015 earthquakes, is thanks to a strong and long-running partnership between CRS and Caritas Nepal. CRS has been working with Caritas Nepal since the 1970s, and has been supporting Caritas Nepal in emergency response, capacity building and disaster management since 2005.

Caritas and CRS are able to mobilize local volunteers through grassroots Church networks and community-based organization contacts in Nepal.

CRS mobilized $13 million in relief and recovery funding to help Nepal after the 2015 earthquakes. We targeted 15,000 households –75,000 people- with emergency shelter, water treatment, hygiene and household materials. The Government of Nepal has estimated that the earthquakes destroyed 494,000 homes and damaged 267,000 more. With the monsoon season starting shortly after the earthquakes, families were not able to rebuild permanent home until months later. CRS has answered the need not only for emergency shelter, but for longer-term housing support. In the months and years ahead, CRS will continue to work with Caritas Nepal to support families as they recover from the earthquakes and rebuild their communities.