Nepal: Gorkha Earthquake 2015


The Gorkha Earthquake in Nepal occurred on 25 April 2015 and had a magnitude of 7.6. Its epicentre was about 76km northwest of the capital Kathmandu. It was followed by more than 300 aftershocks. Around 9,000 people were killed, of whom approximately 55 per cent were female, and over 100,000 people were injured. Overall eight million people have been impacted, which is almost one-third of the population of Nepal.

The housing sector was by far the most affected, also given that numerous houses in poorer rural areas did not have any seismic-resistant features. Over 500,000 houses were destroyed and another 269,000 damaged, which included historical and cultural monuments recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In addition to destroyed or damaged key infrastructure livelihoods, e.g. in the agriculture and tourism sector, have been also critically impacted. According to the Post Disaster Needs Assessment by the UN, World Bank and the EU the total value of the damages and losses of the disaster was estimated at US$7.1 billion, while the estimated needs for recovery were US$ 6.7 billion. The damages and losses of the housing sub-sector and the resulting recovery needs accounted for almost half of the total amount respectively.

According to the latest Independent Impacts and Recovery Monitoring by the Asia Foundation around five years after the earthquake the large majority of the affected people live again in their own houses. Out of all households with damaged houses three-quarters now live in either a rebuilt or repaired house or another house not damaged by the earthquake. However, others continue to occupy damaged houses or those without seismic-resistant features. For many households the recovery from the earthquake remains a financial burden, demonstrated by prevalent borrowing. Four per cent who are still living in temporary shelters are in particular need of support.


Portrait of two children in a school class in Nepal
In Nepal, schools which had been retrofitted against seismic shocks performed much better than those which were not in the devastating earthquake of 2015.
Averted Disaster Award
This paper analyses the role of social capital in disaster resilience in remote communities after the 2015 Nepal earthquake. Social capital is widely regarded as a key element in recovery from and resilience to disasters. Yet, little attention has been paid to the specificities of what supports or undermines remote rural communities' social capital in disasters. The paper examines how bonding, bridging, and linking social capital operated after the 2015 earthquake in three remote Nepali communities of Sindhupalchok and Gorkha Districts, which have varying degrees of access to infrastructure, relief and recovery programmes.
International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction (Elsevier)
This study illustrates the tangible and intangible dynamics of short- term household and settlement recoveries through three interconnected multi-faceted thematic sections that build on one another to contextualize short-term recovery dynamics: 1) inequality; 2) hazards, livelihood, and displacement; and 3) place, uncertainty, and mental well-being.
International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction (Elsevier)
This study focuses on the April/May 2015 Nepal earthquakes to understand rural natural disaster recovery. Household surveys were conducted on critical earthquake impacts and recovery trajectories with 400 ran-domly selected households in four clusters of settlements in two districts with catastrophic impacts to all houses and infrastructure. The analysis explores relationships among critical recovery indicators, households, and clusters of settlements.
World Development
The aim of this paper is (1) to explain the transition of the residential status (i.e., type of places or houses in which affected households stay) after the disaster event and (2) to reveal the factors affecting the housing decisions.

UNICEF Nepal’s Communication for Development (C4D) response in the immediate aftermath adopted a step-by-step approach, starting with media channels that were still functional, for the immediate dissemination of life-saving messages, collection of

United Nations Children's Fund (Global Headquarters, New York)
This report is based on research into the gender dimensions of humanitarian interventions in post-conflict settings from a peacebuilding perspective, using the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal as a case study from which lessons can be drawn for other contexts. It identifies the risks posed by gender-blind humanitarian programming, the need to understand the multiple intersecting dimensions of vulnerability, as well as the key challenges in operationalising national and local gender and conflict-sensitive programming.
International Alert
This study aimed to statistically examine how the content and channels influence the activities of households in developing country rural communities to recover from disasters.
This study draws on the experiences and perspectives of households recovering from Typhoon Haiyan (Philippines 2013) and the Gorkha Earthquake (Nepal 2015). It reflects on challenges faced by households to self-recover from major disasters in urban environments, their interactions with humanitarian agencies, national and local institutions, infrastructures, markets and communities, and the influence of national and local governments’ policies and practices on self-recovery opportunities.
Overseas Development Institute British Academy, the
New seismic and geological information about the 2015 Nepal earthquake offers insight about why and where earthquakes occur in the Himalayan region.
Stanford University