In April and May 2015 Nepal was hit by magnitude 7,8 and 7,4 earthquakes. More than four million Nepalese living in the Himalayas were left homeless just before the monsoon season. According to the United Nations, the earthquakes affected the lives of more than eight million Nepalese people.
Between 2011 and 2016 Finland, working together with UNICEF, supported Nepal in its efforts to prepare for natural disasters. A preparedness plan detailing how sanitation and the supply of clean water can be ensured if the country was hit by a magnitude 8,0 earthquake had been finalized just before the catastrophe. The preparedness plan allowed the authorities to start helping victims immediately after the earthquake. For example, they were able to prevent the spread of a cholera outbreak and to confine it to a small area. UNICEF also had stockpiles of clean water as well as hygienic and sanitary supplies for 100 000 people. The organization was among the first parties delivering aid to the victims. Because of the preparations, the number of deaths in the aftermath of the earthquake could be significantly reduced.
Photo: Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP/Lehtikuva, graphics: Juho Hiilivirta