The April 2015 Nepal Earthquake was the worst natural disaster to strike Nepal since the 1934 Nepal-Bihar Earthquake, followed by a 7.3 earthquake just three weeks later. In the following weeks, there were more than 430 aftershocks, killing 8,964 people and injuring nearly 22,000 people.
Hundreds of thousands of Nepalese were impacted and many were left homeless by the earthquake. About 16,000 schools were damaged or destroyed. In the worst affected areas, 90% of schools were destroyed.
Since responding to the earthquake 2015, All Hands and Hearts has successfully operated nine programs, completing 24 schools in total and serving 3500+ students annually across Nuwakot, Sindhupalchowk, Makwanpur and Sindhuli districts of Nepal.
During our early response phases, All Hands and Hearts also completed the safe demolition of 38 schools, 33 homes, 4 health posts and removed debris from over 180 sites. We constructed 100 transitional homes, 52 toilets, and temporary learning centres in 3 schools, along with 1 temporary health facility centre for the people who needed the help the most.
In addition to these projects, All Hands and Hearts has worked on implementing Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) facilities at each of the schools constructed, including toilets and water filtration systems as needed. Across our programs we aim to build community resilience beyond construction practices and work with community members and local partners to identify Community Led Projects (CLP) that support the community to develop specialized skills. These include Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) training – preparing the community for future disasters, Female Mason Training – training Nepali women in disaster-resilient construction skills and WaSH training – equipping the community with knowledge and practices to build healthy hygiene and sanitation habits.
Most recently, while the country has been working to recover from the long-run impacts of this earthquake, it was severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The real impacts of COVID-19 started to be observed in Nepal from March 2020, after the Nepal government implemented the first nationwide lockdown. During the pandemic, the local health facilities were overwhelmed and schools were used as impromptu quarantine centers. The disaster highlighted the need for improved medical facilities and the need to develop local health capacity.