6 years of Resilience

Three-quarters of destroyed homes are either fully rebuilt or being repaired after Nepal’s devastating 2015 earthquake. But gaps in government assistance show that a full recovery may never materialize.

The ground has settled since a 7.8-magnitude earthquake killed nearly 9,000 people in 2015, but life for many people in Nepal remains precarious.Nearly a third of people affected by the earthquake say the government hasn’t addressed their main reconstruction needs.Another problem with the reconstruction process is that the money offered in government grants isn’t nearly enough to rebuild a home.

The Himalayan region is one of the most seismically active in the world, but large earthquakes have occurred there infrequently. Before the 2015 temblor, the most recent large earthquake (that is, magnitude 6.0 or above) took place in 1988. That magnitude-6.9 event resulted in the deaths of 1,500 people. A magnitude-8.0 earthquake in 1934, however, killed approximately 10,600 people.

Initial reports of casualties following the early-morning earthquake put the death toll in the hundreds, but, as the day wore on, reports had the total number of fatalities surpassing 1,000 and nearing 1,900 by the end of the day. Within two weeks after the main quake occurred, rescue teams had reached all the remote villages in the earthquake zone, and a more-accurate picture of the earthquake’s human cost emerged. The deaths of approximately 9,000 people (which included fatalities in nearby parts of India, China, and Bangladesh) were confirmed, with nearly 16,800 injured and some 2.8 million people displaced by the earthquake. One United Nations (UN) report mentioned that more than eight million people (more than one-fourth of Nepal’s population) were affected by the event and its aftermath..

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