Nepal earthquake 2015

“It’s almost time to prepare the rice seeds for cultivation. When our house collapsed, rice seeds that we had stored got mixed with the rubble. You gave us the seeds right on time.”
- Indra Khadka (36) of Tripureshwor VDC, Nepal

On April 25, 2015 a massive earthquake struck Nepal between the capital of Kathmandu and the city of Pokhara, it left nearly 9,000 people dead and destroyed or damaged more than 850,000 homes.

More than 600,000 houses were totally destroyed, and a further 290,000 were damaged, leaving hundreds of thousands of families without shelter, often gathered in makeshift camps. Transport and communications were severely disrupted.

Oxfam reached over 480,000 people with your support and has moved from immediate emergency relief to longer-term recovery.

Oxfam is there for the long term, helping local communities build back better. We do still need your help to provide assistance to the affected communities. Please give what you can today.

Oxfam's response in numbers

As of April 1, 2016, with the help of our generous supporters, Oxfam has reached more than 480,000 people including:

  • 35,000+ people now have access to clean water
  • 49,000+ people have received hygiene kits
  • 7,900 toilets have been installed
  • 9,700+ people have received emergency food assistance
  • 54,000+ people now have emergency shelter kits
  • 33,000+ farmers have received rice seeds to restart their livelihoods

Oxfam is working with partners in Nepal in seven of the 14 worst-hit districts: Three in the Kathmandu Valley (Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur) and four rural districts (Gorkha, Sindhupalchok, Nuwakot and Dhading).

Half of the 28 million people in Nepal don't have access to improved sanitation and live below the poverty line, around one in three of them in severe poverty. Nepal is one of the world's poorest countries and does not have the infrastructure and resources to deal with a crisis of this magnitude. Oxfam needs funds to continue this vital work.

Our response

Oxfam and other organisations began work within hours of the first earthquake. In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, getting basic, life-saving supplies to individuals and communities, and to prevent the outbreak of disease, was the first priority. Oxfam provided emergency food items and safe drinking water and by setting up temporary shelters and emergency latrines.

During the first weeks, we distributed staple food supplies, alongside rice seeds and agricultural tools for farmers. Our technical experts constructed water tanks and sanitation facilities in the temporary camps. As the monsoon approached, we put in place stocks of chlorine tablets, tarpaulins and seed bags so that during the rains, people in isolated communities had access to safe water, shelter and could store their seeds to plant later in the year.

Both in the immediate emergency, and the recovery phase, we work in four key areas: shelter, food and livelihoods, gender, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).


Women load Oxfam winter and shelter kits onto their backs ready to walk home, in Madanpur, 37km outside of Kathmandu.
Photo Kieran Doherty/Oxfam

More than 600,000 houses were totally destroyed, and a further 290,000 were damaged; women, the elderly, people living with disabilities and female headed households were likely to find rebuilding their houses most challenging.

Oxfam started providing emergency shelter kits comprising tarpaulins and ropes three days after the earthquake. Later we distributed improved temporary shelter kits including corrugated galvanized iron sheets and roofing accessories, along with toolkits.

Oxfam provided training to local builders and local women in how to build safe temporary shelters and later we carried out training on earthquake resistant building methods. 

The immediate priority was to provide a roof for families before the rainy season, then - with a focus on the approaching winter - to provide items to insulate shelters such as thermal floor mats and groundsheets, blankets, mattresses and hot water bottles, as well as sheeting to help waterproof shelters.

Food and livelihoods

Bimala Balami, 27 was employed by an Oxfam cash for work scheme to rebuild an irrigation channel and path in Dachi Nkali, Kathmandu valley.
Photo Kieran Doherty/Oxfam

The earthquake affected the livelihoods of around 2.3 million households and 5.6 million workers and has significantly affected farmers and food production, which many communities rely on for their income.

During the emergency response, distributions of food supplies took place, alongside rice seeds and agricultural tools for farmers whose own supplies were lost or damaged in the earthquake so farmers could start growing again quickly. Cash for work programmes were also run to engage people with debris clearance.

In the recovery phase we provided cash grants and training for people to restart their businesses (which in turn will also help to restart employment opportunities for their employees). We also continued to pay locals to work on the regeneration and maintenance of community infrastructure.


The girls toilets at an Oxfam supported temporary school.
Photo: Kieran Doherty/Oxfam

In a disaster, it is often society’s most vulnerable who are overly affected and in Nepal, women, the elderly, people living with disabilities and female-headed households found the recovery most challenging.

Of the houses damaged by the earthquake, 26% belong to female-headed households.

Oxfam has been working with vulnerable women and girls to ensure they receive the support they need, including installing separate toilets with locks for women and building safe bathing spaces. We also re-established and strengthened women’s centres to help bring vulnerable women support, training and advice and to ensure they have access to government help and relevant legal documents.

Water, sanitation and hygiene

Saim, 45, collects water at Tundikhel displaced persons camp, Kathmandu.
Photo: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam

Of the 11,288 water supply systems in the 14 most affected districts, 14 percent sustained major damage, and 32 percent were partially damaged. Approximately 220,000 toilets were partially or totally destroyed. This significantly reduced access to suitable sanitation facilities and compromised access to safe, clean water.

Oxfam has been repairing and rehabilitating water sources and restoring access to potable water in hard-to-reach areas. Latrines have been constructed or repaired, and hygiene kits containing essential items have been distributed. In camps for people forced to leave their homes, we distributed safe water.

We are now working towards sustainable water and sanitation provision, including water rehabilitation in schools, and major repair and rehabilitation of damaged water supplies in the hill districts.

Latest news

Nepal three months on

July 27, 2015

Three months on from the earthquake in Nepal, women are living in fear of abuse because of the lack of privacy and security in temporary shelters.

One month on: reaching Nepal’s most isolated

May 26, 2015

One month on since the first earthquake hit Nepal, Oxfam  is working with mountain guides and porters to deliver life-saving aid to the most remote communities before the imminent monsoon hits the country.

Nepal’s second quake a double disaster

May 14, 2015

A second earthquake in Nepal is a double disaster leaving many of the survivors of the first earthquake shocked and fearful of further tremors.

Latest blogs

Building back stronger in Nepal, one year on

April 26, 2016

Oxfam has provided water and sanitation in temporary schools in Gorkha, Nepal, after many were destroyed in the 2015 earthquake. Photo: Kieran Doherty/Oxfam

Nepal: One year on

April 14, 2016

In the wake of the deadly earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25, 2015, Oxfam in Nepal and its local partners provided life saving support to over 480,000 people.   

Nepal earthquake response: six months on

October 27, 2015

Six months on, Oxfam has already reached 445,000 people with food, access to clean water and sanitation and support in shelter in seven affected districts. We are still working hard in Nepal to help communities get back on their feet after the earthquake.