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April 25, 2017, marked the second anniversary of a devastating earthquake in Nepal that killed nearly 9,000 people, injured more than 17,000, and damaged or destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes, schools, businesses, and healthcare facilities, as well as critical infrastructure and historic landmarks. On this day two years ago, a small Himalayan country, which was already struggling with high levels of poverty, political instability, and caste, ethnic and gender inequality, was tragically struck by death and destruction. But many Nepalese people need no reminder of the disaster, as they are still struggling with its consequences every day.
Despite the dire circumstances that many people in Nepal continue to face, there remains hope and optimism. Many humanitarian groups from around the world provided assistance to Nepal following the earthquake, and this report details aid that Direct Relief delivered to improve the health and quality of life for survivors.
Direct Relief’s Response
As soon as the massive earthquake struck, it became clear that Nepal would not be able to address the enormous spike in demand for medical services, as the already limited capacity of the existing health infrastructure had been severely diminished. In Nepal’s 14 most-affected districts, the earthquake and aftershocks damaged or destroyed more than 1,200 health facilities and affected access to healthcare services for an estimated 5 million people.
Direct Relief’s main objective in any large-scale emergency response is to deliver essential emergency medical resources – that are requested, approved by the responsible government authority, and appropriate for the circumstances – where they are most needed, as fast and efficiently as possible. Direct Relief immediately started working with its in-country partners to assess needs for medical aid and to rapidly mobilize and distribute medical resources to experienced emergency medical teams and to Nepali-based organizations and health facilities. In addition to making its entire inventory of medical resources available – valued at over $100 million – Direct Relief worked to acquire additional medical material resources via product contributions from healthcare companies, as well as purchased essential medications, supplies, and equipment items from local and regional manufacturers and distributors for immediate delivery and use.
The outpouring of support from those around the world enabled Direct Relief to deliver 170 tons of medicines and supplies, worth more than $50 million, to agencies and healthcare facilities caring for earthquake survivors in Nepal over the last two years. In addition, this support has allowed for more than $3 million in cash grants to be provided to locally run organizations to help with recovery and reconstruction efforts. Direct Relief’s ongoing response will continue to support needed medical services while helping to rebuild local health systems and strengthen resiliency.
As of April 2017, Direct Relief’s Nepal earthquake response efforts have resulted in the delivery of 339,207 pounds of specifically requested medical goods with a wholesale value of $50,250,158. This humanitarian material assistance was furnished through 69 individual donations to 31 partner facilities and organizations, for which Direct Relief arranged for and managed all logistics, transport and physical delivery throughout the affected regions.
Ministry of Health and Population
Nepal Hemophilia Society
Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre
Doctors For You Field Hospital
Light of the Buddhadharma Foundation
Dhulikhel Hospital Nepal
One Heart World-Wide
Bayalpata Hospital (Nyaya Health Nepal)
Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre for Disabled Children
Nepal Orthopaedic Hospital
Kathmandu Model Hospital/ Public Health Concern Trust
Department of Water Supply and Sewerage
Himalayan HealthCare Nepal
Civil Service Hospital
Nepal Cancer Support Group
National Center for AIDS and STD Control (NCASC)
Sri Sathya Sai Seva Central Trust Nepal
Children’s Hospital for Eye, Ear, and Rehab. Services
Manamohan Memorial Hospital
Mercy Relief Field Hospital
Medical Teams International – Nepal
Team Rubicon Nepal
Mobile Medical Team Nepal
Midwifery Society of Nepal
United Mission Hospital, Tansen
Nepal Life Support Foundation
B.P. Koirala Institute of Health Sciences
Mid Western Regional Hospital
Total Material Aid Delivered to Date
Direct Relief was able to avoid significant costs (and expenditures of donor funds) related to the first two airlift charters of 60 tons of humanitarian medical essentials from the U.S. to Nepal. That’s because FedEx donated its aircraft, flight crews and tremendous logistics backbone and team for two full-plane charters.
As always occurs in large-scale natural disasters, there were many emergency medical needs in addition to the lack of material resources. Thanks to the outpouring of financial support from donors, Direct Relief has been able to provide cash grants to help healthcare facilities and organizations reach and treat earthquake survivors. Consistent with Direct Relief’s focus on supporting the most vulnerable, grants were directed to groups such the Hospital and Rehabilitation Center for Disabled Children and the Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre, which treat people with long-term disabling injuries, One Heart World-Wide which provides services for pregnant women and young children, and other long-term partners of Direct Relief.
To date, Direct Relief has identified, vetted, and supported with cash grants the following locally run organizations to help strengthen and rebuild the healthcare system.
B.P. Eye Foundation / Children’s Hospital for Eye, Ear, and Rehabilitation Services
Supporting the continuation of post-disaster medical and surgical mobile outreach services and clinical follow-up for internally displaced earthquake survivors
Clean Up Nepal
Promoting and supplying a national awareness campaign and supporting internally displaced person (IDP) camp sanitation monitoring and hygiene-related health education
Doctors for You / Ministry of Health and Social Welfare
Conducting emergency operations and medical supply and equipment procurement in support of Nuwakot District healthcare services
Ear Care Nepal
Enabling ear care education, testing, and treatment – including surgery – to prevent or repair hearing impairment among children
Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre for Disabled Children (HRDC)
Conducting emergency operations, medical and surgical outreach, facility repair and expansion, and post-earthquake patient services
Marie Stopes Nepal
Increasing access to reproductive health services and products
Midwifery Society of Nepal (MIDSON)
Addressing the increased risks posed to pregnant women and newborns
Namche and Khunde Clinics
Providing software that provides physicians with recent clinical guidelines and notes for patient care
Nepal Cancer Support Group
Supporting cervical and breast cancer education, screening, and treatment programs
Nepal Life Support Foundation
Purchasing equipment to enable the training and promotion of life-saving skills including CPR
One Heart World-Wide (OHW)
Rebuilding the neonatal health system in Sindhulpalchowk and Dhading Districts
Promoting health sector rehabilitation and improvement in Dolakha District
Samdo Tibetan Refugee Camp
Constructing a primary healthcare and birthing clinic in Samdo, a remote village located in Gorkha District
Shakti Milan Samaj
Providing blankets, clothing, supplies, and health education to displaced families living in tent communities, and constructing earthquake-resistant toilet facilities at a public secondary school
Reducing risks to people living with HIV/AIDS by helping them to manage their condition via medication adherence, nutrition education, access to health services, and vocational training
Conducting emergency operations, facility expansion, post-earthquake patient medical and rehabilitation services, provision of specialized wheelchairs and other assistive devices, training of medical providers
Western Regional Hospital
Repairing and replacing damaged specialized medical equipment
Total Cash Awarded To Date
Regaining Sight After the Earthquake: One Patient’s Story
Lal Kaji Tamang, an 89-year-old man from Sertung village, located in the district of Dhading, had been blind in both eyes for over three years. His loss of vision, due to bilateral cataracts, made it impossible for him to continue weaving baskets which had allowed him to support himself and to contribute toward family expenses.
To make matters worse, Lal’s home was severely damaged in the earthquake, and he was forced to move into a small hut by himself. Without the ability to see, Lal had to request assistance to move around outside and rarely left home as a result.
Lal heard about the B.P. Eye Foundation medical outreach camp from community volunteers who were helping to spread the word about the upcoming availability of eye, ear, and general medical services.
Lal’s daughter-in-law carried him on her back to the camp location, where he underwent cataract surgery on both of his eyes over a two-day period. When the bandages were removed, Lal’s face was immediately full of joy and he started to dance. He was incredibly happy that his vision was restored and that he could work and take care of himself again.
Lal repeatedly thanked all of the surgeons, other healthcare providers, and camp organizers. And when the follow-up team returned a week later to check on their ophthalmic and other patients, Lal invited them to his home for dinner.
The effects of disasters of this magnitude are long term, and significant humanitarian needs will remain for years. Direct Relief is committed to working with healthcare facilities and public health agencies in Nepal to address the intermediate, ongoing, and long-term healthcare needs of earthquake-affected families and communities. All remaining Nepal Earthquake-designated funds that Direct Relief received from supporters will be used to continue to improve the health of people in Nepal through supplying medical material resources, funding recovery, rehabilitation, and healthcare system strengthening activities, as well as enacting disaster preparedness and resiliency programs.