Canada's Response to the Earthquakes in Nepal
On April 25, 2015, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck near Kathmandu, Nepal and was followed by a series of large aftershocks, including a further 7.3-magnitude earthquake on May 12. The disaster, which affected over 8 million people, led to more than 9,000 deaths, and temporarily displaced 2.8 million people, prompted a significant response from the international community.
The Government of Canada took swift and multi-faceted action which resulted in critical humanitarian assistance delivered promptly to the affected population.
The Government of Canada responded quickly to the crisis in Nepal. Within only five days following the April 25, 2015 earthquake, the Government of Canada had approved the allocation of $10 million in humanitarian assistance funding to address the most pressing needs of earthquake-affected people, including the deployment of the Canadian Red Cross Emergency Response Unit. Moreover, on April 26, 2015 the Government approved the deployment of Global Affairs Canada’s emergency stockpiles to the hardest-hit regions of Nepal.
In addition, on April 27, 2015, the Government of Canada launched the Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund to engage the Canadian public and support humanitarian, recovery and reconstruction efforts. The Government of Canada committed to allocate an equivalent amount in response to the crisis.
The Government of Canada has provided a total of $27 million in humanitarian assistance funding in response to the crisis, which has been directed to experienced and trusted humanitarian partners, including UN humanitarian agencies such as the World Food Programme, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), Canadian and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
Canada’s humanitarian assistance funding helped achieve important results in 14 of the most affected districts, including:
- More than 700,000 families were provided with emergency shelter and relief supplies including tarpaulins, tents, sleeping mats, blankets, warm clothing, wind-up lanterns, and cooking items;
- 1.4 million people received emergency food assistance, including targeted nutrition assistance for children under-five and pregnant and lactating women;
- Over 850,000 people gained access to adequate sanitation and hygiene facilities and services, including safe drinking water and hygiene promotion training;
- More than 50,000 people received critical medical assistance in emergency field hospitals and mobile clinics;
- Over 170,000 children attended temporary learning centres and received community-based psychosocial support, while 379 children identified as separated or unaccompanied as a result of the earthquake were reunited with their families or placed in proper alternative care;
- 165,240 children were provided with emergency school kits;
- Over 1 million people reliant on agricultural livelihoods received support, including training on livestock and agriculture management; and
- Logistics, coordination and storage services have also been provided to support the humanitarian response, in particular in the most remote areas.
Canada’s support for the deployment of the Canadian Red Cross basic emergency health care unit in Dhunche (Rasuwa District) helped provide basic health care to 4,517 patients in the three months following the April 25, 2105 earthquake.
In addition, between May 5 and May 13, a total of four planes loads of supplies were deployed to Nepal to support the relief efforts of experienced humanitarian partners in meeting the needs of approximately 4,000 earthquake-affected families.
Disaster Assistance Response Team
On May 2, Canada deployed elements of the Canadian Forces’ Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) in Sindhupalchok District, one of the most severely affected regions. Canada’s DART provided significant support to relief efforts led by the Government of Nepal. DART personnel, along with civilian, political and humanitarian personnel from Global Affairs Canada, provided medical assistance, coordination and liaison support to local and international humanitarian partners.
The DART ceased its operations on May 29 and have since redeployed to Canada. By the end of its mission, the DART had:
- treated more than 700 Nepalese patients;
- distributed 75 water filtration units and enabled access to clean, safe drinking water for approximately 3,400 people;
- provided 750 maps and visuals to the Nepalese and foreign militaries and to non-governmental and UN agencies;
- removed more than 3,000 cubic metres of rubble (approximately 720 dump-trucks-full) and cleared roads, allowing access to approximately 204,000 Nepalese isolated by the disaster;
- assisted with more than 300 public safety announcements; and
- distributed more than 355 crank radios, allowing remote communities to connect with relief efforts.
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