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Nepal: HI provides support to affected populations after the recent earthquake

Emergency
Nepal

HI teams arrived in the worst-affected areas to assess needs and support local health services following the earthquake in Nepal on November 3rd.

Two members of the emergency team sorting through the 500 kilos of aid equipment flown in.

Two members of the emergency team sorting through the 500 kilos of aid equipment flown in. | © HI

A magnitude 6.4 earthquake(1) struck western Nepal on November 3rd 2023.

157 deaths were reported and 256 people sustained injuries

Jajarkot and Rukum West districts in the Western hills of Karnali Province in Nepal were hit badly by the 6,4 magnitude earthquake at midnight on Friday, 03 November 2023. 157 deaths were reported and 256 people sustained injuries(2) in Jajarkot and Rukum West districts in the Western hills of Karnali Province in Nepal. While the number of injured people is still increasing, the search for survivors has officially been called off. The assessment of the situation so far has shown that more than 900 houses are fully damaged, while around 3 000 houses have been damaged partially. The Nepalese Government has officially requested international support. Access for humanitarian aid is difficult because roads are blocked by landslides.

HI’s intervention in affected areas

Among the 32 international NGOs involved in the emergency response, HI is the only organisation to provide physical rehabilitation services.

HI has deployed its emergency team with Shelter Kits and Assistive Devices (walkers, auxiliary crutches, elbow crutches, strips). The team is formed of 3 Physiotherapists, 1 ortho-prosthetist, and 1 Logistics and Field Officer. They will be supporting the local health services in coordination with the Nepalese authorities in the affected areas and will provide the required assistance, particularly in terms of physical rehabilitation and providing adapted assistive devices.

Over 500 kilos of assistive devices have already been flown into Nepal, thanks to a local aircraft company, Buddha Air. These are essentially crutches, braces, that can help people in need in these very remote and inaccessible areas.

This first team will soon be supported by other HI Nepalese colleagues specialising in inclusion, to provide assistance to people affected by the earthquake and target more specifically the most vulnerable, especially women and people with disabilities. Women and children are the main victims of this disaster, as many of them were at home when the earthquake struck, while their husbands were away working in other regions or neighboring countries.

Nepal, a country prone to earthquakes

Nepal has always been prone to earthquakes and has suffered bigger earthquakes, both in terms of intensity and damage they caused, in the past.

The most recent one was the April 2015 one that had taken almost 9000 lives. HI's teams, who have been working in Nepal since 2000, also launched an emergency response to assist the victims at the time. HI teams provide a long-term support to the survivors, such as Sandesh, Khendo and Nirmala who were severely injured.

Meanwhile, experts and seismologists have warned of bigger earthquakes and asked all concerned to prepare for such quakes. It is important to note that for the last few years, earthquakes of lower intensity have frequently been hitting the hill districts in the Sudurpaschim and Karnali provinces.

This new earthquake highlights the urgent need for disaster preparedness and risk reduction measures and the need to increased awareness and action. HI has developed a significant number of projects in Nepal to support people and help them prepare for natural disasters.

1. According to the Nepal's Monitoring and Research center, 5,6 according to the US Geological Survey

2. According to the Situation Report produced by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority

Date published: 07/11/23

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