Following the April 25, 2015, earthquake in Nepal, Handicap International launched an immediate relief effort in aid of the most vulnerable survivors. Since then, the organization has continued to supply aid to the earthquake’s victims despite political tension in Nepal and with neighboring India.
One year after the earthquake, the political situation in Nepal is gradually improving and the trade blockade along the Nepal-India border has finally been lifted. Nepal now faces several challenges: the new constitution has not been welcomed by all, and preparations for local elections and the reconstruction of the country are only just getting underway. Faced with the scale of reconstruction, Handicap International, like other international NGOs, is working in partnership with the government to help meet the people’s needs.
“For thousands of people, the priority now is to rebuild their homes before the monsoon rains begin,” says Sarah Blin, Handicap International’s director in Nepal. “They also need to find jobs or other income sources so they can raise their standard of living.”
Top Priority: Caring for Survivors
Handicap International continues to run rehabilitation sessions, distribute orthotic devices, prosthetic legs, and mobility aids, and provide occupational therapy. To make sure people living in rural areas can also benefit from these services, the organization has deployed eight mobile rehabilitation units in western Nepal.
To help improve the country’s health system, Handicap International has trained nearly 200 health professionals in Nepal in injury and trauma management and provided 300 caregivers of people with disabilities with information about physical rehabilitation.
Handicap International also ensures that highly vulnerable individuals, such as people with disabilities and the elderly, are included in their communities, enjoy a better standard of living, and have access to aid supplied by humanitarian organizations. Handicap International continues to work with humanitarian operators and the Nepalese authorities to further these aims.
Preparing for Future Disasters
Since Nepal is prone to earthquakes and floods, and many regions are difficult to access in emergencies, Handicap International is conducting natural disaster risk reduction and preparation operations.
In the center and west of the country, the organization is setting up early flood warning systems and has trained 280 members of local disaster planning committees to ensure that vulnerable people are taken into account. Handicap International is preparing health staff for a major earthquake by training them how to treat large numbers of casualties in hospitals in the Kathmandu Valley.