Building Back Safer After Earthquakes: A case study in Nepal

Photo by Benny Manser/CRS

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In Gorkha, Nepal, lush paddy fields offer a stark contrast to the devastation this area experienced in 2015, after a major earthquake struck. Homes were damaged or destroyed, leaving thousands without sufficient shelter.

As part of Catholic Relief Services’ Resilient Communities through Vulnerable Earthquake Recovery, or ReCoVER project, reconstruction efforts in Gorkha have been ongoing. Through ReCoVER, CRS and its partners have provided technical support and construction materials to aid approximately 6,240 households—more than 31,000 people—affected by the earthquake in rebuilding their lives. Not only does the project assist with reconstruction, but it also offers support with financial planning, home-based livelihoods and savings that help families withstand future shocks.


mason sits outside building in Nepal

Bhuminanda Bhatta is a skilled mason who successfully completed a training program with CRS. He was an integral part of the team that contributed to the construction five houses in his community in Gorkha, Nepal.

Photo by Benny Manser/ CRS


Bhuminanda Bhatta, a farmer and mason from Bhimsen Thapa village in Gorkha, is among the many local residents who participated in a ReCoVER training program. He learned how to build earthquake-resistant houses, and helped his neighbors do the same.

“I took a very keen interest in learning about building an earthquake resilient house. Whenever I have the time, I help the community to rebuild earthquake resilient houses with the team who works here. We’ve built five houses,” says Bhuminanda.

Vulnerable residents receiving resilient homes


woman tends to goat in Nepal

Tika Devi lived in a goat shelter until she received assistance rebuilding her home.

Photo by Benny Manser/CRS


Tika Devi spent two years living in a goat shelter after the earthquake. Once she was identified by the ReCoVER project as in need of assistance, she received a fully reconstructed earthquake-resilient home.


woman seated at home in Nepal

Tika Devi was identified as needing assistance rebuilding her home after a devastating earthquake.

Photo by Benny Manser/CRS


“I was walking outside when the earthquake started. I could see the trees shaking heavily and I felt the ground shaking too. Everybody was running to a higher area on an open space. But I was more concerned about my cattle and my youngest daughter who was in our house,” says Tika.



Through the ReCoVER project, CRS and partners provided technical support and building materials to help people like Tika rebuild their homes.  

Photo by Benny Manser/CRS

“I am very happy after the construction of my house. When I didn’t have a home, we were facing many hardships and even the livestock were facing difficulties. Once I moved from the goat shelter to this house, I felt much safer that this house is going to protect me,” Tika says.

Livelihood support

As part of the ReCoVER project, Tika received a goat from CRS, which has assisted in sustaining her livelihood.

“One of my main livelihoods is raising and selling livestock. I also save from the $80 elderly allowance, every three months from the government,” says Tika.

Tika is now living with her eldest daughter and granddaughter, who she enjoys watching grow up.


smiling woman in Nepal

Tika Devi now looks forward to spending time with her granddaughter in a safer home.

Photo by Benny Manser/CRS

“My granddaughter is quite independent she walks to and from her nearby school. When she’s at home she helps me with the household chores, such as giving grass to the livestock and preparing tea. She’s growing up and being responsible,” says Tika.


CRS Field Officer Goumaya Bhujel near an irrigation canal

CRS Field Officer Goumaya Bhujel near an irrigation canal that was constructed by CRS and local residents. The canals, which are in a rice paddy field, facilitate easy water access for farmers.

Photo by Benny Manser/CRS


Like Tika, Pream Bahadur Aale also received livelihoods support through the ReCoVER project. After participating in a farmer field school training organized by CRS, Pream began growing and selling tomatoes at the local market. Last year, he earned a profit of more than $500.


man tends tomato plants in Nepal

Pream Bahadur Aale tends his tomato farm.

Photo by Benny Manser/CRS


While Nepal is considered a paradise for many travelers, the people who live here—especially in remote areas like Gorkha—experience multiple natural disasters including floods and landslides. As most of the country is seismically active, earthquakes remain a risk, too. CRS’ ReCoVER project continues to ensure that people like Tika, Pream and Bhuminanda are prepared for the future—one they can look forward to rather than fear.