On the morning of 25th April 2015 a huge earthquake shook the Himalayan state of Nepal. Thousands of people lost their lives. In the aftermath of the disaster, Welthungerhilfe is providing support together with local partner organisations. Nepal is one of the least developed countries in the world. The earthquake struck a land whose economy was already weak and in which many families live at subsistence level. A summary of the situation in the country.
In 2006, after a decade-long civil war, a peace process was initiated. But the political basic conditions in the Asian country are still difficult: With an annual per capital income of 730 US dollars in 2013, Nepal is the second poorest country in South Asia and one of the 20 poorest countries in the world. A quarter of the population lives below the national poverty line.
Children are malnourished
Almost every second child under five years suffers from malnutrition, one third of children are underweight. The Global Hunger Index categorises the nutritional situation as ‘extremely alarming’. And that is despite the fact that Nepal is an agricultural country. More than half of the population live on the land as farmers. The majority, however, can barely sustain themselves from what they produce on their own land. The inaccessible topography with its steep hillsides and climate change both exacerbate the difficult situation for farmers. Heavy monsoon rains flood valuable agricultural land, extreme drought periods destroy crops and ruin grazing pastures.
Welthungerhilfe has been working in the rural regions of Nepal since 1972. Together with partner organisation Rural Reconstruction Nepal and the population, it develops projects to increase food security, to develop irrigation and drinking water supplies and to reduce the extreme effects of climate change.
Infrastructure is a big problem in Nepal. Only 31 per cent of people have access to adequate sanitary provision. 3.5 million people have no access to clean drinking water. The road network is poor in a country characterised by valleys and mountains. People regularly have to walk long and rough routes in order to reach the next village or town to sell their goods.
The educational situation has recently improved a little and more children are at least attending primary school. However, 30 per cent leave school before the eighth grade and 1.6 million children – mostly girls – have to work instead of going to school. Children from marginalised population groups in particular are most at risk from poverty, violence and exploitation.
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Emergency relief by Welthungerhilfe in Nepal is financially supported by German Department of Foreign Affairs and the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO).
The latest blog posts from Francesca Schraffl, Nepal emergency response team