Jajarkot earthquake: Supporting families through disaster in Nepal

ByIslamic Relief

Jajarkot earthquake: Supporting families through disaster in Nepal

In early November, 2 powerful earthquakes struck Nepal’s western Jajarkot district, killing more than 150 people and injuring close to 400. More than 250,000 people were left in need of humanitarian assistance. In the most affected area, Jajarkot, more than half of the buildings were damaged by the earthquakes.

Over 3 months later, life remains a challenge for those affected. Many families are living in temporary shelters, unable to return to homes destroyed by the disaster. More than 6,100 families remain displaced.

Islamic Relief has been working with local partner organizations and the Nepalese government to support families in need. In the week following the quakes, IRW provided food and blankets to more than 11,000 people. Since then, the organization has expanded the response, supplying food parcels, and organizing counseling for people affected by the disaster.

Islamic Relief is also coordinating with local partners and authorities to provide long-term support for displaced families. Plans include constructing permanent shelters, which will include improved access to safe drinking water and the restoration of latrines.

Warmth in winter

One of the families Islamic Relief is supporting is Laxmi’s. Before the earthquake, Laxmi was already struggling to provide for her 3 children by working as a daily wage laborer in a local crushing plant, but the earthquakes made her situation even more challenging.

The 35-year-old’s house was severely damaged, with all of the family’s belongings and food trapped underneath debris. With their house no longer habitable, the family has been forced to stay in a makeshift shelter made from tarpaulin, which does nothing to protect against winter temperatures that can plummet to -6 Celsius.

“Every day I wished for a long sunny day”, Laxmi says. “But night in Jajarkot is cold and we didn’t have enough blankets to keep us warm.”

Winter and cold-related illnesses have already led to the deaths of 36 people staying in temporary shelters, like the one Laxmi and her children are staying in. Islamic Relief has provided blankets, shawls, thermoses, and foam mattresses to more than 2,800 families living in makeshift shelters like Laxmi’s, helping them to keep warm during the winter months.

“Now with the blankets, we have no fear of the cold night. All of us can cuddle on the foam mat and with the warm blankets,” says Laxmi.