Nepal Earthquake

Active Recovery
April 2015
Kathmandu, Nepal
Credit:Photo by Lauren Ipsum


On April 25, 2015, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake rocked Nepal, caused buildings to collapse, set off avalanches on Mount Everest and catapulted the entire region into chaos.  The worst earthquake in 80 years killed more than 8,900 people, injured thousands, destroyed or damaged at least 880,000 homes and more than 1,200 health facilities.  In the first month, AmeriCares provided and supported emergency medical teams and supplied more than $20 million in aid to meet survivors’ immediate and longer-term health needs.

Nepal thrown into chaos

The quake was centered 50 miles from Kathmandu and could be felt as far away as New Delhi. Multiple aftershocks throughout the region hampered rescue operations and terrified survivors – the most powerful aftershock (7.3 magnitude) added to the death and injury toll two weeks later. Then the monsoon season compounded the misery as survivors sought shelter amidst damaged and ruined buildings.  

AmeriCares immediately launched a large-scale relief effort sending aid workers, medical teams, and emergency medicines and supplies to the disaster zone. In the initial days of the response, our focus was to support of the Government of Nepal and the Ministry of Health and Population in the delivery of life-saving medical services and supplies and the provision of direct care to earthquake survivors.

The first AmeriCares India medical team responded within 48 hours, treating hundreds of patients through temporary medical camps in Kathmandu and nearby heavily damaged communities, while other team members distributed medicines and supplies to frontline health workers and coordinated relief efforts with inter-agency groups and government authorities
Our emergency team worked with international medical teams on the ground in Nepal helping earthquake survivors. The teams included a special surgical group from India performing more complex surgeries on badly injured survivors. One of our partners, NYC Medics, treated hundreds of survivors in hard-hit areas of Dhading District.
Ten days after the earthquake, AmeriCares airlifted close to $1 million in medicine and supplies to meet needs defined by Nepal’s Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization.
Our in-country team established a long term presence in Nepal with an office and warehouse in Kathmandu, supporting recovery programs and coordinating distribution with partners.
When a fuel shortage created a medical supply crisis, we were able to provide new shipments of critical medicine and supplies

“AmeriCares deserves a medal for being so efficient during responses to the earthquake and fuel crisis. They identified gaps and provided exactly what was needed at a critical time.”


$23.8 Million

To date, AmeriCares had supplied more than $23 million in aid to meet survivors’ immediate and longer-term health needs.

An earthquake survivor regains her health – read her story. 


Junkiri is thankful for a new life.  The Injury & Rehabilitation Center helps people return to their family and community

Road to Recovery

Improve health services. AmeriCares identified a need for long-term physical rehabilitation services for earthquake survivors who, once discharged from overcrowded hospitals, require comprehensive care to regain full functionality and return to their work and families in remote communities. In Sindhupalchok District, AmeriCares built and operates an injury and rehabilitation center for up to 20 patients, in partnership with the International Organization for Migration. The center provides round-the-clock nursing care and intensive daily physical therapy sessions so each patient can regain maximum functionality after a stay of four weeks. Patients also have access to psychosocial counseling. The facility has served hundreds of patients and their families. In addition, considering the need and request of the local community, service was extended to non-earthquake patients as well.

More Recovery Efforts

Restore health systems and rebuild health facilities. Working with two local health partners and in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Population, AmeriCares is proceeding with plans to repair or rebuild 17 health facilities damaged or destroyed in the earthquake, including a new out-patient department and staff quarters at Dhading District Hospital. The restored facilities will serve a population of more than 140,000 people.

Construction is nearly complete on the first of four health facilities Americares is building as part of our Health Facility Repair and Reconstruction Project in Makwanpur District. In partnership with Birat Nepal Medical Trust, Americares is building four prefabricated health facilities to replace those destroyed by the earthquake. Construction of three other facilities will begin once land issues are resolved.

Counseling for health workers: AmeriCares mental health experts provided counseling and training to more than 800 health care workers from three social service organizations and two hospitals in the Kathmandu Valley who, after living through the earthquake and treating survivors, were at risk for stress and trauma.

Help for survivors. Collaborating with local groups who already work in the region, AmeriCares is bringing community-based psychosocial health programs to remote and isolated earthquake-affected communities. In a public space, trained performers act out the range of stress symptoms that can afflict earthquake survivors. The training adds to health workers’ knowledge of mental health and psychosocial issues, building local capacity that will help the community for years to come. The program will reach more than 1,000 communities and train more than 2,900 community health workers through June 2017. Over 550 performances thus far have reached an estimated audience of 172,000 community members in 6 districts.