On Saturday, April 25th, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake–the worst earthquake to hit Nepal in more than 80 years–struck just outside the country’s heavily populated capital, Kathmandu, impacting areas across the country and its neighboring borders with India, China and Bangladesh.
The disaster triggered deadly avalanches on Mount Everest and in the Langtang Valley, and caused widespread building collapses, damage to infrastructure, injuries and deaths. Less than a month later, on Tuesday, May 12th, a second earthquake, registered as a magnitude 7.3, shook the country. Soon after, monsoon season arrived, bringing with it the risk of landslides and flooding in already vulnerable communities.
As a result of the earthquakes and subsequent aftershocks, more than 9,000 people were killed and upwards of 20,000 people were injured. According to the UN, an estimated 8 million people were affected across 39 of the country’s 75 districts, 3.2 million of whom were children.
In May 2015, Operation USA made a cash grant to Himalayan Healthcare via long-time partner Brother’s Brother Foundation, allowing for the local purchase of medical supplies for impacted hospitals. Later that same month, a shipment of donated material goods—including medical supplies and equipment, power generators and lighting equipment, hygiene items and shelter materials—was sent to Nepal for distribution by the World Health Organization.
In July 2015, programs staff visited the country to assess needs and meet with communities who were impacted by the disaster. On that trip, OpUSA established ties in the remote community of Fyakse in the Dhading district, where villagers were already working to repair education systems despite very limited resources and support. This community, which has faced many obstacles, relies on the local public school system to help children learn, grow and thrive.
OpUSA made a commitment to the peopke of Fyakse as so many rural villages are too often overlooked and under-served due to rough terrain and distance from metropolitan areas. We are dedicated to rebuilding the village school and re-establishing educational programs in the area.
In November 2015, Operation USA made a grant in the amount of $22,500 to the village of Fyakse through the Rebuild Nepal Foundation to support a winterization project. In December, items including blankets and quilts, warm jackets, pants and shoes, and hygiene kits containing toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, shampoo, disinfectant and towels were delivered the village and distributed to those most in need. Funding was also allocated to the local health center, providing an expanded first aid kit and basic health supplies.
As a result of this project: 500 people in Fyakse have one quilt or blanket to better withstand the cold weather; 311 students and 14 teachers at Panchkanya Secondary School have a jacket, pants, socks and shoes to keep them warm in class, as well as hygiene kits to promote daily hygiene and improved health; and 1,000 local people have access to medical care at the local health center.
In March 2016, Operation USA and partners broke ground on the construction of the new school facility in Fyakse. The new school will serve approximately 350 students in kindergarten through 10th grade with eight classrooms and bathroom facilities, and is on schedule to open in 2017.