Remembering Nepal, one year onMonday, 25 Apr 2016
On 25 April 2015, a devastating earthquake hit Nepal. Only a few weeks later a second earthquake struck. Over 8,000 people were killed and more than 21,000 injured. Hundreds of thousands became homeless as homes were completely damaged and became uninhabitable. It was the worst natural disaster to strike the Himalayan nation since the earthquake of 1934.
Immediately after the disaster, additional assistance was requested by the Government of Nepal to complement their own efforts, and was immediately provided by the international community. We provided support, funded by UK aid, to the on-going recovery and transition strategy.
In 2015 our team of mostly Nepali experts was already covering critical areas across the health sector as part of the Nepal Health Systems Support Programme (NHSSP), providing embedded technical assistance to the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) to strengthen systems and enhance capacity to deliver equitable quality health care services.
Post-earthquake, our team of experts played an active role in the initial assessments of damages and plans for the recovery of health services, including designing tools and guidelines for reconstruction of health facilities. Our team in Nepal were quickly and deeply involved in support to the government and communities despite the shock, and for some personal damage they were experiencing.
Access to health services, so desperately needed in the aftermath, has been severely affected with many facilities being completely damaged, especially for villagers living in remote locations of the mountainous region. In the two regions where we focus our work, we are supporting reconstruction of facilities and healthcare service delivery, working to ensure communities receive essential and quality care.
The resilience of the Nepalese people over the past year has been remarkable. Despite challenges in the delivery of aid assistance, communities have begun to rebuild homes and restore livelihoods.
But thousands are still living out in tented camps unable to return home, their farm land, buildings, crops and animals having been swept away in the thousands of landslides that followed the earthquakes.
Supporting the provision of health services to displaced populations, many of whom have earthquake related injuries, presents a major challenge to the health sector but one that Nepal’s health workers, supported by the Options-led team and NGO partners in three districts are addressing with great courage and fortitude.