Nepal Quake: Housing, Income, Environment Top Recovery Goals

Photo by Jake Lyell for CRS

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October 25 marked 6 months since a 7.8-magnitude earthquake claimed 8,669 lives and leveled more than 500,000 homes in Nepal. Catholic Relief Services was on the ground within hours of the earthquake, providing emergency shelter materials, water and hygiene kits, and blankets.

From July through September, monsoon rains severely hampered recovery efforts. Roads were washed out and blocked by landslides, and transportation—including by helicopter—was extremely limited. Despite the logistical challenges caused by the monsoons, field teams continued to reach families living in remote areas with vital relief supplies and resources. Now that the rains have subsided, we’re back on the ground, implementing the next stage of our recovery plan.

Nepal earthquake survivors

CRS is helping Nepal earthquake survivors rebuild their homes and livelihoods. Photo by Jake Lyell for CRS

CRS and our partner Caritas Nepal have fully transitioned to early recovery activities. We’re focusing on the neediest communities in Gorkha District. Our emergency efforts include helping people rebuild their homes, ensuring they have access to clean water and proper sanitation, and providing cash assistance so families can rebuild their assets and purchase critical supplies. Over the next 4 years, CRS will work with communities to construct safer homes, protect the environment during reconstruction and get people back to work.

Impact to date

In the earthquake’s aftermath, CRS supported 20,625 families, or 103,125 people, with critical shelter materials, living supplies, and water treatment and hygiene kits. We’re now helping them lay a foundation for full recovery. Our efforts to date include:

  • Emergency relief and shelter supplies to 12,496 families, or 70,351 people
  • Transitional shelter materials like tin sheeting, tool kits, blankets and mats; and hygiene kits with buckets, soap, towels and laundry detergent
  • Cash grants to 11,976 families so they can buy key items locally
  • Trauma healing for communities through theater group presentations at distribution sites
  • Clearing debris, and providing iron sheeting and tool kits so 210 vendors can construct transitional shops as they await reconstruction of their stores

Donate to recovery efforts.

Spotlight on shelter

In Bungkot, CRS and Caritas Nepal have collaborated with the local government to train masons and local communities on safe and durable techniques that will help them build homes resilient to natural disasters. CRS specialists trained 11 masons, who received certificates at a public ceremony. We’ve also built demonstration panels showing key construction components appropriate for the region. The panels demonstrate:

  • Foundation with seismic reinforcement band
  • Details with seismic reinforcement bands in timber, bamboo and concrete
  • Roof detail
  • Household toilets—including a model for people with disabilities

CRS and Caritas Nepal teams continue to train local masons, and increase awareness of safe and durable construction techniques that will improve resilience to natural disasters, especially earthquakes.

Watch this video to see how CRS teams live and work in the field.