Due to its location and variable climatic conditions, Nepal is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. Climate change and an increasing population further exacerbate the impacts of natural hazards, which each year cause heavy loss of life and damage to property. The European Union continuously supports initiatives that reduce the risks of natural hazards and improve the disaster preparedness capacities of vulnerable populations. In addition, the EU finances the provision of urgent services such as emergency shelter, healthcare, and water and sanitation.
Every year, during the monsoon season, landslides and floods kill hundreds of people in Nepal. The potential threat of earthquakes, glacial lake outbursts, avalanches, and cold and heat waves always looms large.
According to the United Nations, Nepal is the 11th most vulnerable country to earthquakes in the world and Kathmandu, the capital, is the most at-risk city.
A changing climate also leads to a rise in the frequency and intensity of natural hazards, such as flash floods and landslides. This adds to the people’s burdens, especially for those who are already vulnerable and ill-equipped to cope with disasters.
The European Union is committed to continuing its support for those in need across Nepal. In 2020, the EU allocated over €2.15 million in humanitarian assistance to the country, bringing the total humanitarian funding to more than €107 million since 2001, including more than €30 million allocated to disaster preparedness and risk reduction activities.
Due to increased disaster risks posed by the climate crisis, EU funding in Nepal over the last few years has focused on supporting initiatives aimed at strengthening the disaster preparedness of local institutions and assisting them in programme implementation. Key priorities include strengthening the emergency response capacity of rural and urban municipal authorities to manage natural hazards such as floods, landslides, fires and earthquakes. One of the programmes focuses on assessing the risk of future floods and assisting the communities before they occur. In addition, the funds also improve the preparedness and response capacities of the government towards a timely, effective and targeted response in the aftermath of emergencies.
In response to the widespread monsoon floods that struck several South Asian countries in mid-2020, including Nepal, the EU provided €150,000 in emergency aid to address the most pressing needs of those affected. The aid focuses on providing emergency shelter materials, essential household items, as well as access to clean water and sanitation facilities.
The EU has been present in Nepal since 2001, providing humanitarian assistance to people affected by conflict and major natural hazards, including the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake in 2015 which claimed close to 9,000 lives and destroyed more than half a million homes. During Nepal’s internal conflict, and up until 2011, EU humanitarian actions have supported thousands of conflict-affected people, especially in rural areas, by providing healthcare as well as water and sanitation facilities. The EU also assisted refugees from Bhutan for more than 10 years until 2015.