- On 25th April 2015 at 11:41 local time a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal, with the epicentre 81km northwest of Kathmandu. There were tremors of up to two minutes and by evening, at least 18 aftershocks had been felt.
CBM Emergency Response Unit has been in contact with our Regional and Country Offices, and partners, who are all safe. We are in the process of planning a disability-inclusive response.
CBM is supporting nine partner-projects in Nepal. These include eye and ear care programmes, orthopaedic and Community-based Rehabilitation services, mainstreaming of mental health and psychosocial disability, education and livelihood and empowerment of women as well as disability-inclusive development advocacy initiatives.
Disability and emergencies
The WHO estimates 15% of the global population live with disability. In any emergency or disaster, people who live with some form of disability are disproportionally affected. Reasons for this include inaccessibility of warning messages and emergency shelters, loss and damage of assistive devices, disruption of support networks and increased difficulty in accessing basic humanitarian operations (food, water, shelter, sanitation and health care services).
At the same time, emergencies can increase the number of people who experience disability, both short and long-term, due to injuries sustained and lack of effective medical services.
We spoke with Mitralal Shrestha, CBM Nepal, Finance and Admin Officer. He and his family were directly affected (but are safe).
“When the earthquake struck it was Saturday midday, so most people were in their houses. I was with my family, having lunch. When it happened I didn’t think anything about saving my life, we just all went outside – my family and our neighbours – and went to a safe place. We are OK.
“But after about half an hour we realised many bad things had happened. It was then a terrible time for half an hour with a lot of tension. A seven-storey building only 300 metres from my house had collapsed. More than 25 families were staying there. It was totally destroyed.
“We helped the people – calling police, taking them to hospital. In the hospital there were no free beds; people were just lying on the floor getting treatment. Now [10pm local time] it is dark but many people are still outside, sitting around, afraid to go back inside in case of more earthquakes.”