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A warm response helps survivors of Nepal earthquake

A Tearfund partner in Nepal is helping people left homeless by the earthquake in November to survive the winter.

Written by Tarryn Pegna | 01 Mar 2024

Dhanu, wearing a colourful headscarf, crouches with her young son in front of the makeshift shelter they have been living in since the earthquake destroyed their home.

Dhanu and her remaining children have been living in a tent since their home was destroyed by the 6.4 magnitude earthquake that struck the Jajarkot region of Nepal on 3 November 2023. Credit: Tearfund/INF

Dhanu* lives in Jajarkot, in western Nepal. She and her husband used to have a house where they lived with their son and four daughters. Like many others in their community, they supported themselves through farming and rearing livestock, and Dhanu’s husband shouldered most of the responsibility for providing for the family’s needs.

Earthquake disaster on 3 November

Then, on 3 November 2023, an earthquake struck the region and reduced Dhanu’s home to rubble. Dhanu, along with her son and one of her daughters, was rescued by helicopter after being dug out of the rubble underneath the house, but her husband and one of their daughters did not survive the earthquake.

Now, Dhanu is left to care for her remaining children alone, without a house or enough money to rebuild. The disaster has also left her struggling with depression. She lives in constant fear that something will happen to her son. Her mental health has deteriorated to the point that, although she has been rushed to hospital in an ambulance on three occasions since the earthquake, she has refused to stay for treatment each time. She said she would rather die than be separated from her son.

‘I cry and can share my feelings, but my little boy can’t even call out for his dad.’
Dhanu, Nepal earthquake survivor

Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness

‘I cry and can share my feelings,’ says Dhanu, ‘but my little boy can’t even call out for his dad. We are totally helpless and hopeless. We do not have hope of survival anymore and do not see any future. I do not know how I will look after my children.’

The earthquake, which measured 6.4, killed 154 people and injured more than 2,366. According to the National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC), approximately 62,000 homes were affected by the earthquake and its aftershocks, leaving 250,000 people in need of humanitarian assistance.

Winterisation support

A UNICEF report in December of 2023 had already counted 25 further deaths caused by winter/cold-related health issues among people forced to spend the nights in tents and temporary shelters. In response, thanks to the generosity of Tearfund supporters, our local partner International Nepal Fellowship (INF) has provided some respite. In the days immediately after the quake, INF distributed emergency relief packages with food and other essential items to help meet the urgent needs of 450 families. Following that, an assessment was carried out to identify those who might most need winterisation support (helping people be prepared to face the cold weather with items to keep them warm).

Dhanu and her family were among those to receive further help from INF but, at the winterisation distribution point, Dhanu faced another distressing situation when her little boy suddenly fell from her arms as she was carrying him and lost consciousness. Dhanu started to scream, terrified that her baby had died. Fortunately, he was still breathing. With the help of INF, he was immediately taken to receive medical treatment.

Dhanu is still worried about her children but she says she is grateful to Tearfund’s partner for the winterisation support.

*Name has been changed for protection.

Pray for earthquake survivors in Nepal

    • Pray for Dhanu and her children. Ask God to bring them comfort and peace and provide for them so that they can rebuild their lives after this grief.
    • Pray for all those who lost their homes and loved ones in the earthquake. Ask God to give them the courage and resources to start again. 
    • Lift up all the children affected by this disaster. Pray that they will have the warmth, food, shelter and education they need.

Written by

Written by  Tarryn Pegna

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