On 25th April 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal. Many aftershocks followed, and a second 7.3 magnitude earthquake on 12th May caused further destruction. Initial relief efforts started immediately in Kathmandu and Lalitpur Districts with the focus quickly shifting to more severely affected areas in Gorkha, Sindhupalchowk, Lamjung and Dhading. As Many villages in these areas have been completely destroyed with up to 90% damage and destruction being reported. CARE is targeting to reach 100,000 individuals (approximately 20,000 families) affected by the earthquakes. CARE has reached these communities through distribution of ready to eat food, emergency shelter, household non-food items, water purification and hygiene consumables. Special consideration has been given to the needs of women and girls whose specific needs add to their vulnerability in disasters. They are at greater risk of facing gender-based violence, psychosocial trauma and burdened with additional responsibilities. CARE is addressing the specific needs of women through distribution of hygiene kits, reproductive health kits as well as disseminating messaging and referrals on SGBV issues in partnership with local women’s organisations. CARE has launched a US$40 million appeal to rapidly scale up our response to provide lifesaving assistance and to support longer-term recovery for earthquake affected communities.
Nepal Earthquake Emergency Response
The goal of CARE’s response is to meet the immediate needs and support the long-term recovery of the most vulnerable populations affected by the Nepal Earthquake.
Gorkha, Sindhupalchowk, Dhading and Lamjung
Dry food Distribution in camps in Kathmandu and Lalitpur districts
CARE will support the most vulnerable Population in its response. The vulnerable populations include:
· Poor, vulnerable and socially excluded women and girls
· Female-headed households, including single women, widows, wives whose spouses have migrated and/or who have been abandoned
· Pregnant and lactating women
· People belonging to excluded groups, including lower Nepali caste groups and ethnic minorities
· Households with houses totally and partially destroyed
· Those applying crisis and distress coping strategies
· People Living with HIV, People with Disabilities, infants, unaccompanied children and the elderly
In the initial phase, emergency shelter kits will be distributed along with household NFIs. Waterproofing supplies to guard against rain and winterization for those living at higher altitude where it gets very cold will be provided. A shift from the immediate need for tarpaulins to more durable items such as corrugated galvanized iron (CGI) sheets is already underway. The strategy at present is to get CGI sheets out to communities prior to the monsoon
For the recovery phase, technical assistance will be provided to those who are re-building or repairing their homes. The aim is to support self-recovery wherever possible; which will be further facilitated through coordination with other actors and joint programming with food security and livelihoods interventions. After the initial distributions, CARE will work with local government, local partner organisations and communities, to develop a programme to promote and support early recovery by means of owner-driven construction of safe houses.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH):
In the initial phase 12,000-15,000 households will be targeted for distribution of hygiene relief items (alongside shelter items). In places where there are concentrations of affected communities living together, temporary pit latrines will be dug and temporary bathing shelters installed (in both cases separated for men and women). Radio messaging and community mobilization will be done to share key hygiene and sanitation messages.
In the recovery phase the WASH strategy will deliver at both household and settlement level. For the households, the work will be integrated with the shelter programming and includes (a) monitoring how distributed hygiene kits are used to ensure it is effective/correct; (b) hygiene messaging through social mobilizers and media (e.g. radio); and (c) conditional cash transfers will be done (e.g. for latrine rebuilding/renovation, household water connection, purchase of hygiene items). For the settlement level work (which is standalone, i.e. not necessarily dependent on integration with shelter), there will be (a) assessments of communal WASH facilities and rehabilitation damaged water sources; (b) community hygiene promotion; (c) a Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP) survey; (d) gender-responsive and inclusive WASH facilities provision at schools, health posts and other key community infrastructure so that they can reopen and/or function more effectively; and (e) capacity-building for DWSS (e.g. on water quality testing).
Food Security and Livelihood
The initial phase will focus on distribution of dry food rations to 10,000 families. Unconditional cash transfers to 10,000 families will also be considered as an alternative to food. Seeds and seedlings will be distributed prior to the monsoon rains (and are therefore urgent, hence in ‘initial’ phase) to enable families who have lost their stocks to still participate in the coming cropping seasons.
The recovery phase will involve distribution of Cash for Work/value vouchers to 4,000 families. The work envisaged will include rubble removal (links to shelter and WASH), rebuilding community or agricultural infrastructure, individual house construction (for particularly vulnerable households unable to do it themselves), building of animal sheds, and disaster risk reduction activities (e.g. reforestation, gabion construction to prevent flooding). Livelihoods recovery will be enabled through the distribution of a variety of seeds, fruit seedlings, saplings, livestock and veterinary support and farm tools to 5,000 vulnerable, nature-dependent, small-holder farming families. Market Support will be provided to assist specific identified vendors (from vulnerable groups) to restock their shops with food commodities in locations where markets are not performing. Market infrastructure will be supported (with links to shelter support). Market-based support will be provided for improved agricultural livelihoods and value addition, e.g. training for farmers, agro-processing, packaging materials, grinding mills, milk chilling vat, micro irrigation schemes. This will link back into CARE Nepal’s existing programming for food security and livelihoods, which also has a focus on women’s economic empowerment and business skills development. CARE will also establish and support savings and credit schemes, particularly for cooperatives and women’s groups.
Sexual and Reproductive Health
CARE already has significant programming in Nepal on sexual, reproductive and maternal health and is a chosen partner for UNFPA to deliver activities contributing to the MISP (Minimum Initial Service Package) during emergencies. In the initial phase CARE will assist with the delivery of reproductive health kits including medical equipment for birthing centres and clean delivery; support the social mobilization of pregnant and lactating women to seek SRH in emergency health services; and organize Reproductive Health Camps to ensure SRMH services are reaching remote and marginalized communities.
In the recovery phase, we will use our Shelter and WASH programming to support infrastructure improvements at health posts to enable them to provide gender-responsive services. We will also continue to support Ministry of Health and Population to provide access to obstetric and newborn care referral and linkages with birthing centres, family planning services, ante retroviral therapy and community mobilization for increased awareness, access and utilization of Sexual Reproductive and maternal health services.
In both initial and recovery phases, CARE will work with Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHVs) for community mobilization and referral networks and to encourage pregnant women to continue seeking healthcare services (4 times ANCs institutional delivery and post partum care). We will also: (a) support the distribution of essential supplies for family planning; (b) work with midwives to support emergency obstetric and newborn care services; (c) support effective referral systems through good co-ordination with other actors; (d) work with mass media such as local FM radio to disseminate information and messages on contextual SRMH needs and priorities.
Protection and Gender Based Violence (GBV)
CARE has a long history of working to tackle Gender-Based Violence in Nepal. This includes work to reduce the prevalence of discriminatory practices such as chaupadhi (removal from the home during menstruation), boksi (violence directed towards women considered to practice witchcraft), and child marriage. Protection of women and girls, as well as men and boys, cognizant of the differential impacts the earthquake will have on each of these groups, is a core priority for CARE’s emergency response. We will ensure that we mainstream protection issues into the above sectoral work. Throughout the response we will deploy teams of Information Volunteers who deliver messages verbally and through participatory activities to communities about protection issues.