On 25 April 2015, 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.
Australia's humanitarian response package to the 2015 earthquakes ($11.9m, 2014-16) focused on providing lifesaving support through UN agency appeals, Australian Red Cross and NGO partners, and included 15 tonnes of humanitarian relief supplies. Australia's subsequent early recovery package ($16.7m, 2015-17) included support for the UNDP to stimulate local economic recovery and deployment of Australian Civilian Corps infrastructure specialists.
Australia's immediate humanitarian relief package included:
- $4 million to Australian NGO partners Oxfam, Save the Children, CARE, Plan International, Caritas and World Vision, including to provide emergency shelter needs for over 68,000 people
- $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 including to distribute life-saving relief supplies.
- $1 million to the World Health Organization 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) including to support food assistance operations targeting up to 1.4 million beneficiaries.
- $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.
- $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.
- 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 focused on three key areas that met critical post-earthquake needs and built upon DFAT's existing development engagement in Nepal.
- Livelihoods: restoring lost enterprises of the very poor to stimulate economic recovery.
- Education – getting vulnerable children back into school including:
- Plan Australia's 'Inclusive Early Recovery in the Education Sector and Building Back Safer Schools'
- 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.