A massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal on April 25, 2015, causing tremors that reached as far as northern India and Pakistan. The death toll exceeded 9,000 and a state of emergency was declared. In the aftermath of the earthquake, landslides and avalanches occurred, triggered by heavy rains and aftershocks. These events caused additional deaths and further damage to infrastructure in already devastated regions.
Over 2.8 million people were displaced. The thousands of families left homeless were increasingly vulnerable to contracting communicable disease. As a result, families were in great need of clean water and basic hygiene supplies. Without immediate intervention, these conditions would only worsen as the outbreak of diseases like cholera threatened vulnerable families.
9,000 PEOPLE KILLED
2.8 MILLION PEOPLE DISPLACED
Within 48 hours of the earthquake hitting Nepal, GlobalMedic’s Rapid Response Team was deployed and responding with urgently needed humanitarian aid.
During the initial emergency phase immediately following the earthquake, GlobalMedic operated several large-scale community water purification systems in order to restore access to clean, drinking water. By operating these units in areas that served a large number of vulnerable families – such as evacuation centres, hospitals and makeshift camps – our team was able to most effectively reach as many people as possible. In total 65 AP700, 1 AP3000, 1 AR10, and 4 Trekker Community Water Purification Systems were deployed during this response, supporting thousands of people with safe drinking water.
In order to restore access to clean drinking water at the household level as well as the community level, GlobalMedic distributed 5,878 Rainfresh Household Water Purification Units. These units comprised of 4 ceramic candle filters that can provide clean drinking water for up to one year. The filters, along with their installation accessories, were procured in Canada and air freighted to meet the RRT when they arrived in Nepal. The buckets required to complete the unit were procured locally in order to ensure distribution of the unit could happen in the quickest manner. During Rainfresh distributions, the RRT provided demonstrations on how to properly use and maintain the units.
A need for family hygiene and emergency items was identified in many of the hardest hit districts in Nepal. GlobalMedic produced items locally and assembled Family Hygiene Kits designed to serve the needs of an average family for approximately two months. 6,655 Family Hygiene kits were distributed, each including soap, laundry soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, nail clippers, hair oil, combs, underwear, sanitary cloths, diapers, safety pins, a mug, a blanket, towels, a flashlight and batteries, tarps, rope, oral rehydration salts, a bucket and a jerry can.
Another primary need following the earthquake was a shelter solution to replace damaged critical infrastructure. GlobalMedic installed 1 Alaska, 62 Celina and 7 Eureka large-scale tents to support hospital functioning and the delivery of educational programming. Tents were also used to establish Child Friendly Spaces where psychosocial programming was provided to help mitigate the trauma felt by many children affected by the earthquake.
With over 2.8 million people displaced and a huge percentage of the population living outside of their homes due to fears of aftershocks and structural damage to buildings, a household shelter response was also crucial. Through the distribution of household tents, GlobalMedic was able to secure housing for 315 vulnerable families whose homes had been entirely destroyed as a result of the earthquake.
GlobalMedic also deployed our RescUAV Team to provide aerial information for the RRT and support not only GlobalMedic’s response, but also other agencies and local government authorities. RescUAV support was requested in several instances. Most notably, GlobalMedic utilized the SkyRanger during the Nepali Special Forces search and rescue operation for an American helicopter that had crashed, killing US Marines and Nepali soldiers. The recorded information was provided to the officials conducting the operation and provided them with crucial information throughout the search for the helicopter.