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Parent Organization- Mountain Heart responds to Earthquake in Far Western Nepal

    A magnitude 6.6 and 5.7 earthquakes were recorded in the Doti and Bajhang district of far-western Nepal in Nov 2022. The epicentre of the first earthquake was located at Khaptad National Park. At least six people were reported dead, and many were injured. As well as several buildings collapsed. Though the low rates of mortality and morbidity, the remote villages tucked deep in the folds of the mountains composed of mud and wood have succumbed to the quake tremors rendering villages shelterless. The main quake followed several aftershocks, which damaged already weakened structures. Rain and snowfall followed as winter set in. The extreme weather put the lives of those living in the open or temporary shelters at risk.

    Although damage to the agriculture sector was not assessed, affected families have likely lost livestock, crops, food stocks and valuable agricultural inputs. People in the far west heavily depend on agriculture for livelihood and have higher per unit livestock than the national average. 

    In addition, displacement was likely to cause food shortages and disease outbreaks. Lack of food and clean water can lead to malnutrition and microbial contamination, which becomes the gateway to life-threatening diseases. The loss of poorly built residential houses, farmland and livestock would amplify the income shock and push poor households below the poverty line for an extended period. Dalits, other marginalized groups and people living in remote geographical regions of the Far West who are already deprived of social services would face similar challenges.

    The response to this earthquake by the nation was one of panic, triggered by the memories of the devastating 2015 earthquake that killed some 9,000 people. The Post Traumatic Stress effect lingered on and surfaced with this incident.

    The people of Purbi Chauki Rural Municipality of Doti district and Thalara Rural Municipality of Bajhang district needed immediate assistance due to the highest destruction of houses and cost to human life following the earthquake. People needed help with relief materials, including medical care to get through the winter.

    With support from Direct Relief, our parent organization- Mountain Heart Nepal, provided immediate humanitarian assistance to the earthquake-affected victims of Doti and Bajhang. The organization provided immediate food, shelter and healthcare services. 

    A total of 50 households from the area received the relief materials. It consisted of blankets, tents, tarpaulins, hygiene kits and uncooked, non-perishable, dry rations consisting of rice, flour, lentils, oil and sugar. 

    An outreach clinic was organized that offered free health screening, wound care, and free medicines to treat acute illness and prescription refills for chronic conditions. “The free clinic cared for more than 400 patients and referred 13 to higher centres for specialist care”, said Dr Aban Gautam. 

    A team of eight volunteers, including medical doctors and nurses, travelled from Kathmandu to the earthquake-affected Purbi Chauki and Thalara rural municipalities of the Doti and Bajhang districts to provide relief materials and set up the outreach clinic.

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