European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

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A devastating earthquake took the lives of thousands in Nepal, April 2015. Photo credit: EU/ECHO/Pierre Prakash

What are the needs?

A devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck central Nepal in April 2015, killing thousands of people and flattening entire villages. On 12 May, the country was again hit by a new 7.3 magnitude earthquake, followed by several aftershocks, claiming additional lives and causing further damage. Almost 9 000 people died in the two earthquakes, over 22 000 were injured and more than 600 000 houses were destroyed.

Nepal faces numerous natural disasters every year. Around 1 000 people are killed yearly by landslides and floods during the monsoon season. The threat of earthquakes, glacial lake outbursts, avalanches as well as cold and heat waves always looms over the country.

Nepal also hosts over 12 000 refugees from Bhutan, who live in camps. The refugees are not allowed to work and are almost entirely dependent on international humanitarian assistance. Over 108 000 Bhutanese arrived in Nepal in the 1990's, many of whom have since been resettled in third countries.

The political uncertainty following the 10-year Maoist insurgency that ended in 2006 continues. A new Constituent Assembly elected in the November 2013 elections eventually resumed the task of finalising the country’s constitution, which was adopted in mid-2015.


How are we helping?

In response to the earthquake, the European Commission has thus far released €16.4 million to help address the most urgent humanitarian needs, including clean water, medicine, emergency shelter and telecommunications. The European Commission aid to the earthquake victims has to date totalled almost €150 million, including funds for early recovery and rehabilitation.

This funding came in addition to the deployment of European Commission's humanitarian aid and civil protection experts to the crisis area, and to the search and rescue and first-aid teams, as well as relief items, sent from EU Member States through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

The European Commission's Emergency Response Coordination Centre monitored developments on a 24/7 basis and coordinated support from Europe.

The European Commission has been working in Nepal for many years, implementing community-based disaster preparedness projects, helping the survivors of the conflict in remote areas and assisting the refugees from Bhutan.

A significant part of the European Commission's humanitarian assistance to Nepal goes towards helping communities resist, withstand and cope against natural disasters through the creation of community-based rescue mechanisms, disaster-resilient infrastructure, early warning systems and flood management. The funding also helps enhance the capacity of the medical community to cope with mass casualty situations that could be provoked by an earthquake through retro-fitting of hospitals in Kathmandu and stockpiling of fuels and surgical kits.

Since 2001, the Commission has provided more than €21 million for disaster-preparedness efforts, including €3.1 million allocated for 2016.

During Nepal’s internal conflict, and up until 2011, the Commission's humanitarian actions totalling €35 million supported thousands of conflict-affected people, especially in rural areas, by providing health care as well as water and sanitation facilities.

The European Commission has contributed more than € 97 million in humanitarian aid funding in Nepal since 2001.


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