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Nepal earthquake: Tearfund responding (updated 7 November)

An earthquake measuring 6.4 has struck the mid-western part of Nepal last night. Tearfund partners are responding.

Written by Tarryn Pegna | 04 Nov 2023

Five people walk in the destroyed remains of half of a house which was reduced to debris after the earthquakes. The other half of the house is still standing but the walls are cracked and look likely to collapse. Three other men walk by.

People stand in the remains of a home in Rukum, Nepal, that was destroyed by the earthquake on 3 November 23.

At around 23h47 last night (3 November), an earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale struck the mid-western part of Nepal, flattening homes and buildings and leaving many people dead or injured. Current figures from Tearfund’s team in the country suggest that more than 150 people have been killed. However, with access to villages and towns blocked because of damage to roads and infrastructure and communications severely affected, that number is expected to rise and may be many more.

Immediate needs and response

Within the country, a response is being coordinated across government levels and the Prime Minister’s team has been to the affected sites early this morning. The immediate needs are search and rescue, medical support, food, shelter and clean water and hygiene facilities.

Tearfund’s local partners are already at the earthquake site and liaising with local government and other organisations to work out how to respond most effectively.

Nepal at risk of earthquakes

Nepal lies in a severe seismic risk fault zone, and has been experiencing a series of earthquake incidents since around 2015, when a very large earthquake struck causing many deaths and widespread destruction. Geological experts have been warning of the possibility of a much larger quake in the western part of the country for some years. The reason behind these predictions is that the stored seismic energy – which normally needs to be released every 80–100 years – hasn't been released for at least the last 550 years.

‘Tearfund’s local partners are already at the earthquake site and liaising with local government and other organisations to work out how to respond most effectively.’

Areas affected by the earthquake

Two districts – namely Jajarkot and West Rukum – are reported to have been severely affected by last night’s earthquake and the casualties and loss and damage seem to have been on an enormous scale.

The BBC reported that three further tremors had been felt within an hour after the initial earthquake, and described how many people spent the rest of the night outside for fear of further quakes. The BBC wrote, ‘Video footage on local media showed crumbled facades of multi-storied brick houses. People were pictured digging through rubble in the dark to pull survivors from the remains of collapsed buildings in posts on social media.’

*Update as at 7 November*

Tearfund’s local partners in the earthquake region

Three of Tearfund’s local partners, International Nepal Fellowship (INF), Human Development and Community Service (HDCS) and Micah Nepal have already started to respond. HDCS and INF had started sending their medical teams to the affected sites by Saturday (4 November) as they have hospitals present in the affected areas and in nearby districts and yesterday (6 November), INF distributed temporary shelter items (tarpaulins and blankets), and ready-to-eat food to 100 households in some of the places that were most affected.

INF will continue to work together with the District Disaster Management Committee (DDMC) to come up with a detailed and specific need-based response plan to provide further necessary support. Plans are also in place to run mobile health medical camps for the survivors from next week once all those who have been affected by the earthquake have been provided with temporary shelter.

A team from Micah Nepal reached the earthquake-affected sites last night (6 November) with temporary shelter items, including tarpaulins and large quilts, as well as dry food items for 100 families. These will be distributed today (7 November).

HDCS were already present in the districts where the earthquake struck and began to respond immediately. They have been providing food and materials for temporary shelter, along with medical support – using their hospital to treat people who have been injured and supplying ambulance and medical truck support to transport people to the hospital.

Staff from Tearfund said, ‘We've worked in Nepal for many years, including through the last big earthquakes, and we know what people will be facing – scared to go back to their homes and living on the streets for fear of further tremors.’

Please pray for those affected by the earthquake and, if you are able, please give to help ensure that Tearfund is able to respond to people’s needs when disasters like this strike.

Rubble and debris are the only remains of a house in Nepal after an earthquake measuring 6.4 struck on 3 November.

Only rubble and debris remain of this house in Nepal after an earthquake measuring 6.4 struck on 3 November. Credit: Tearfund partner

Pray for Nepal

    • Pray for comfort for those who have lost loved ones and are grieving.
    • Pray for the safety of our partners who are already at the earthquake sites and responding. There are other partners planning to travel tomorrow with relief support.  Ask for swift distribution of resources and wisdom as they determine the best way to work with the local communities who have been impacted.
    • Pray for roads to be cleared and communications to be restored quickly so that support can be arranged and assessed for those who have lost their homes. Pray for the missing or trapped survivors to be found and for protection of the responders and medical teams.

Written by

Written by  Tarryn Pegna

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