Nepal shattered by second earthquake: How you can help them through their tragedy

With over £45 million raised by the British public, ActionAid's Natalie Curtis tells Closer online what's being done to help the people of Nepal piece their lives back together


by Miranda Knox |
Published on

In Nepal's worst disaster in nearly a century, an estimated 8 million people have been affected by the devastating earthquake that struck on Saturday 25 April. Hundreds of thousands of people had their homes damaged or destroyed and have been in urgent need of food, water, shelter and medical care.

And now, just two weeks later, a second major earthquake has struck eastern Nepal, near Mount Everest.

At least four people have been killed and an unknown number injured, according to people on the scene - and there is an overwhelming sense of panic.

ActionAid and other Disaster Emergency Committee members are now in the process of supporting local people, and have extended the aid response to three years to allow its member agencies to meet longer-term needs and help rebuild lives and livelihoods.

Up to 10,000 people are feared dead, including 18 climbers hit by an avalanche on Mount Everest triggered by the quake. Shocked by the appalling images of cities and towns devastated in the quake, in the following weeks, the British public donated over £45 million.



ActionAid's senior editorial and stories manager Natalie Curtis, 33, spent a week in Kathmandu and the surrounding areas, helping to deliver aid to over 48,000 people in more than 60 villages, camps and towns across 17 districts.


She says: "I've met parents who've lost their children, which is heartbreaking. I also met women who were forced to give birth during the earthquake, which must have been terrifying, and many heavily pregnant women who've lost their homes are now living in tents with over 200 other people.

"Many mothers say they're too weak to breastfeed their babies, so it's important they get enough food. One woman went into labour with her first baby just 40 minutes before the earthquake, and has since called her baby 'Lucky'.

"Despite everything, there's a real sense of hope, and people are starting to look to the future. The people of Nepal are strong, they just need our help to start to rebuild their livelihoods.

"We're here to ensure the immediate needs are met, like shelter, clean water and food, and then we'll look to the long-term goals. We've donated £50,000 to Patan Hospital to equip their operating theatre, and have been handing out water purification tablets, and dignity kits for women- with clean underwear, soap, feminine hygiene products and shawls so they can breastfeed in private."



Natalie adds: "Mothers are worried about the psychological impact the quake has had on their kids, so we've also provided safe, child-friendly areas where they can play and receive emotional support. A lot of the older kids have rallied together to look after little ones too, and there's definitely a feeling of the community pulling together.

"One woman I met who was in her sixties came out of retirement as a midwife because of the quake, and helped the local hospital deliver 160 babies, many of whom are premature because of the trauma. Many of the people pulled from the rubble were helped out by their neighbours. People have nothing, but are helping each other as much as they can.

**The Disaster Emergency Committee'swork so far: **

ActionAid has provided food to 20,000 people.

Age International has provided cash to 2,100 older people to spend on urgently needed items.

The British Red Cross has health teams working in 12 locations.

Tents and food have been delivered to 10,460 people in three districts of the Kathmandu valley by CAFOD and its partners in the Caritas network.

CAREhas provided more than 5,300 people in Gorkha with shelter, water and sanitation kits.

Christian Aid has provided ten water filtration units – each which provide 1,500 litres of purified water per hour for 10,000 people in Gorkha, Dhading and Sindhupalchok.

Islamic Reliefhas distributed food for 2,500 people in Sindhupalchowk district.

Oxfam has distributed 925 hygiene kits for 4,625 people and 1,245 bottles of chlorine solution for 6,225 people.

Save the Childrenhas distributed shelter kits, baby kits and relief supplies to more than 25,000 people in Gorkha.

Plan has distributed more than 1,290 education kits in Sindhuli.

Tearfund has reached 3,300 people with tarpaulins and food in Makwanpur and Lalitpur districts.

World Vision is running ten child friendly spaces.

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