On 25 April, an earthquake measuring 7.8 struck Nepal near Lamjung north-west of Kathmandu, followed by a 7.3 earthquake on 12 May between Sindhupalchowk and Dolakha districts north-east of Kathmandu. Both earthquakes were followed by multiple aftershocks and landslides with Kathmandu, Gorkha, Lamjung, Sinhupalchowk, Langtang and Everest Base Camp amongst the worst affected areas.
In total, almost 9,000 people were killed and about 20,000 injured by the earthquakes and resulting landslides. Critical infrastructure was damaged and destroyed, including schools, hospitals and roads with around 409,000 homes destroyed and 265,000 damaged. The Department deployed 22 DFAT officers to assist the response. This included six humanitarian officers to coordinate Australia’s humanitarian assistance and 12 consular officers to provide assistance to Australians in Kathmandu, Lukla, Pokhora and the Langtang region.
The Australian Government responded immediately to the Nepal earthquakes combining Australian people and expertise with that of our partners. The Government of Nepal announced an end to the humanitarian response to the earthquakes on 22 June 2015, Australia is now providing a package of recovery assistance to Nepal.
In response to the earthquakes, the Australian Government provided approximately $28 million1 in assistance to Nepal, including:
- approximately $12 million in immediate humanitarian relief
- more than $16 million for recovery and reconstruction.
Australia’s immediate humanitarian relief package included:
- $4 million to Australian NGO partners Oxfam, Save the Children, CARE, Plan International, Caritas and World Vision to provide:
- access to safe water and sanitation for 42,000 people
- emergency shelter needs for over 68,000 people
- hygiene promotion activities to reduce the risk of waterborne disease for 100,000 people; and
- protection programs to target the needs of 25,000 women and children across Nepal.
- $1 million to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Flash Appeal to meet urgent shelter needs and $1 million to the Australian Red Cross to:
- distribute life-saving relief supplies, including shelter, household, kitchen and hygiene kits
- support the deployment of health, shelter, gender and WASH experts
- support IFRC shelter operations.
- $1 million to the World Health Organisation for essential medicines and medical supplies, surgical equipment and instruments, mental health care, psycho-social support and management of trauma.
- $2.7 million to the World Food Programme (WFP) to support:
- food assistance operations targeting up to 1.4 million beneficiaries in the most affected areas of the Central and Western regions
- logistics needs including coordination and information management, provision of emergency telecommunications and engineering assessments of existing logistics infrastructure.
- $500,000 to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) to establish maternity facilities and female friendly spaces, conduct up to 17 mobile reproductive health camps, and procure and distribute dignity kits.
- $500,000 to RedR Australia to deploy nine Australian humanitarian experts to support UN operations
- including logistics, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), communications and coordination experts working with UNICEF, UNFPA, OCHA, WFP, FAO and IOM.
- $50,0000 through DFAT's Sexual and Reproductive Health Program in Crisis and Post Crisis Settings (SPRINT program) to provide basic health care and reproductive health services through mobile camps in remote locations. In the first five days of operations, clinical teams provided services to more than 1,500 people across ten different locations.
- Emergency relief supplies from DFAT pre-positioned stores in Brisbane and Sabang to assist up to 10,000 people including:
- 1,000 shelter kits and 1,234 tarpaulins
- 1,746 hygiene kits and 80,000 water purification tablets
- 1,000 kitchen kits
- 3,624 blankets.
- The Australian Defence Forces deployed two C17 aircraft to deliver humanitarian relief supplies to Kathmandu and to evacuate affected people.
Australia’s recovery package of more than $16 million:
Through partners, Australia’s recovery package focuses on three key areas that meet critical post-earthquake needs and build upon DFAT’s existing development engagement in Nepal.
- Livelihoods: restoring lost enterprises of the very poor to stimulate economic recovery
- The Rapid Enterprise and Livelihoods Recovery Project in partnership with UNDP will:
- Restore livelihoods of 12,000 existing entrepreneurs in the 7-most affected districts (targeting women, Dalits and indigenous nationalities)
- Establish up to 2,000 new micro entrepreneurs
- Build or repair more than 139 common facility and business promotion centres.
- Education – getting vulnerable children back into school
- Plan Australia’s ‘Inclusive Early Recovery in the Education Sector and Building Back Safer Schools’ will:
- Provide more than 17,000 children, particularly marginalised girls and children with disabilities, with access to education and psycho-social support in safe temporary learning spaces and help them transition back into school
- Rebuild twelve schools in five districts
- Two Australian Civilian Corps infrastructure specialists to support Nepal’s Department of Education with assessments, lessons learned and reconstruction planning
- Funding support for the Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery to conduct of detailed damage and structural integrity assessments of public and private education infrastructure and provide technical advice on rebuilding and retrofitting affected schools.
- Social cohesion – addressing conflict
- The Asia Foundation’s project to assist in resolving community disputes related to resettlement, land and resource use, unequal allocation of relief and recovery resources and increased vulnerability of marginalised groups especially in regards to gender-based violence.
For the latest updates on Australia’s support to and relationship with Nepal, please visit the Australian Embassy in Nepal website or the Embassy’s Facebook page.