After the 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck central Nepal on April 25, Secretary of State John Kerry assured the people of the region that the United States “stands with you during this difficult time.” The epicenter was located 77 kilometers from Kathmandu, Nepal’s largest city and capital. Just 17 days later, on May 12, a 7.3-magnitude aftershock hit east of Kathmandu in Dolakha District. The government of Nepal estimates that more than 500,000 houses have been damaged or destroyed.
As part of its commitment, the U.S. has distributed more than 200 rolls of heavy-duty plastic sheeting to earthquake-affected households in Kathmandu District’s Sankhu village and surrounding areas.
The sheeting was provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance and distributed by the nongovernmental organizations Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development and Save the Children. It will provide temporary shelter for more than 35,000 people in the area around Sankhu village and thousands more across Nepal. An additional 500 rolls of this critical emergency shelter material were dispatched to Gorkha, Kathmandu and Sindhupalchowk.
With the impending monsoon season, shelter support remains the most urgent need in affected communities, the U.N. reports. To address critical shelter needs, U.S. and international relief actors have distributed more than 134,400 tarpaulins to earthquake-affected households in high-priority districts. Many of these tarpaulins have reached Gorkha District where the earthquake destroyed an estimated 90 percent of homes. Half a million more tarpaulins are on the way.
According to UNICEF, 1.7 million children require immediate aid. More than 20,000 schools have been damaged or destroyed. USAID Nepal has responded by building a child-friendly space in Bhaktapur. After two weeks of being confined to closed camp spaces, about 50 children now can play and study.
These earthquakes have affected the lives of more than 8 million men, women and children. A tremendous amount of work is still required to help these people rebuild their lives. You can help! Learn how you can contribute to the international effort.
All photos courtesy of USAID.