Six-month Update on Himalayan HealthCare's Earthquake Relief and Recovery in Nepal

Six-month Update on Himalayan HealthCare's Earthquake Relief and Recovery in Nepal

October 25, 2015

Six months ago, when a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal, taking more than 8,000 lives and impacting the entire nation, Himalayan HealthCare stepped in immediately to provide food, clean water, shelter and emergency care to victims in Kathmandu and Dhading District.

To date you and roughly 1,500 other donors have helped us raise more than $1.7 million in disaster relief and long-term recovery funds.

How are your dollars helping?

Within 24 hours of the earthquake, Himalayan HealthCare had seven metric tons of food and a medical relief team in Dhading.

Within ten days, Himalayan HealthCare had:
  • Donated generators to the district administration to reestablish power and telephone service to facilitate regional disaster relief efforts;
  • Provided medical equipment and staff to the 25-bed district hospital so it was capable of carrying out emergency surgery;
  • Secured 40 metric tons of food, 1.5 metric tons of medicines and three metric tons of non-food supplies including tents and blankets;
  • Placed two medical teams in two isolated and badly hit villages in northern Dhading;
  • Sent a surveillance team of engineers to assess damage in remote Dhading villages;
  • Organized communities to repair trails so that long-term relief and rebuilding could be carried out more efficiently.

Himalayan HealthCare has served as a trusted local partner to AmeriCares, United Nations World Food Programme, NYC Medics and GlobalMedic helping to deliver additional food, medicines and other relief supplies to Dhading.

Victims in northern Dhading are treated by HHC volunteers

HHC's local staff distributes cooking oil to victims of the earthquake

Our ongoing efforts include:

Food Relief - Himalayan HealthCare is working with the World Food Programme under its “Food for Assets Creation” program to ensure 3,945 households in five northern Dhading villages have access to food. The program will incentivize food recipients to participate in rebuilding their communities, namely the repair and extension of trails leading from the district capital to the villages.

Trail and Road Repair and Maintenance - Restoring access to the northern Dhading villages has been a priority for Himalayan HealthCare, as the quake and subsequent landslides damaged bridges and made footpaths impassable. Using local community members and our team of construction specialists and engineers, Himalayan HealthCare is re-linking the northern Dhading villages to each other and to the main access point. In addition to making our aid operations more efficient and cost-effective, restoring the trails in northern Dhading will allow locals to carry out their own rebuilding efforts without relying on costly helicopters and outside aid agencies.

Livestock Distribution- Building on our food relief efforts, Himalayan HealthCare, with support from Brother’s Brother Foundation, distributing livestock to 184 households that lost animals as a result of the earthquake. Livestock, which includes cattle, buffalo, pigs and goats, is a major source of livelihood and sustenance for the villagers in northern Dhading. Brother’s Brother Foundation also supported food relief for three villages in northern Dhading for the month of July and has been a major supporter of our relief efforts since April.

Medical Clinics - Himalayan HealthCare has continued to care for patients at its medical clinics in the Bagdol Lalitpur section of Kathmandu. Roughly 2,000 patients have been treated since the earthquake and the clinics are now carried out three times per week.

Hospital and Health Post Repair - Over the next two years, Himalayan HealthCare in collaboration with AmeriCares will repair and reconstruct the Dhading District Hospital, as well as 12 area health posts. This 18-month collaboration will involve local community members as well as a team of construction engineers and post-disaster experts to ensure these sites are built back stronger and more sustainably than they were prior to the earthquake. The project has taken into consideration a needs assessment of the Dhading District Health Office and local health providers. It will be carried out under a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Nepal's Ministry of Health and Population and will follow the Ministry's master plan, guidelines and building codes. Under the partnership agreement, AmeriCares and Himalayan HealthCare will collaborate on site assessment, repair and reconstruction.

School Construction - Himalayan HealthCare is conducting site assessments and developing blueprints for the construction of 30 schools in northern Dhading, to serve a total of nearly 1,500 students up to 10th grade. Construction sites, materials and processes will be chosen in consultation with a social architect and our local engineering team to ensure classrooms will be earthquake resistant. In addition, schools will be rebuilt to higher standards, to include separate toilets for boys and girls, water supply, libraries and other facilities. Construction will be carried out using local labor trained by Himalayan HealthCare and monitored by an onsite supervisor, engineers and a local School Construction Committee. With all local schools damaged or destroyed in the earthquake, Himalayan HealthCare has in the interim provided tents and corrugated tin sheets to use as temporary classrooms.

With your help, our work has directly impacted more than 340,000 individuals.

HHC President Dr. Robert McKersie treats a young patient

HHC's local staff removes landslides from the trails in northern Dhading

Looking ahead

For nearly 24 years, Himalayan HealthCare has strived to improve quality of life for some of Nepal's most marginalized communities. Coming to terms with the destruction of more than two decades of community development work has not been an easy task. Nonetheless, we continue our commitment to the survivors in northern Dhading to help them get back on their feet and to restore hope where six months ago it was lost in an instant.

We are grateful that in the midst of such tragedy, we've had the opportunity to develop new partnerships and gain supporters like you who ultimately are helping to strengthen our work in rural Nepal. Schools will be rebuilt to better specifications than they were prior to the quake, and health posts in the region will be brought up to international standards, capable of carrying out more services than they ever were before.

Our relationship with local authorities has also been enhanced as Himalayan HealthCare proved its ability to respond quickly and effectively when we were needed most. This has brought about a wind of change for productive, long-term collaboration with the government in the future.

We thank you for your support as we build back these communities better and stronger than they were before the earthquake

What else can you do to help?

  • Email this update to a friend. Encourage others to visit our website and donate what they can to Himalayan HealthCare's relief and long-term recovery efforts. Every dollar counts.
  • Shop at this holiday season. Each purchase of our JeevanKala crafts supports our artisans, their families and Himalayan HealthCare's relief and recovery efforts.
  • Host a fundraiser, film screening or holiday crafts sale. Our documentary, Hearts in the Himalayas, is available to stream online and we've prepared boxes of JeevanKala crafts that we can send to your home, school or workplace.
  • If you're on Twitter, Facebook and other social media, encourage your followers to donate to Himalayan HealthCare by including a link to our website and hashtags #Nepal, #RebuildNepal, #NepalEarthquake, #AmazingNepal, #NepalQuakeRelief and #WeStandWithNepal.

If you have any questions on Himalayan HealthCare's relief and recovery efforts, please contact our US Director, Christina Madden, at . We thank you again for your support.

All net proceeds from the handicraft sales are used to fund primary health care, medical and educational projects, giving to those involved in the production process a sense of pride that comes by helping and sustaining many others, in even greater need than themselves.