Two weeks after a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on 25 April, north west of the capital Kathmandu, another earthquake struck the country's north east on 12 May, measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale.
The two earthquakes have left more than 8,000 people dead, injured over 17,000 and destroyed nearly 289,000 houses
. Some buildings originally damaged in the first earthquake have now collapsed following the second. People have moved back into open spaces fearful of continued aftershocks and the possibility of another earthquake.
39 of Nepal's 75 districts have been affected, 15 considered as most affected. Relief efforts have reached beyond Kathmandu, but access to remote areas remains a key challenge and often only possible via helicopter.
UNOPS personnel based in Sri Lanka and infrastructure specialists based in Copenhagen are on the ground in Nepal, liaising with humanitarian and government partners, to determine where UNOPS areas of expertise can best support the country's immediate and long-term recovery needs.
Within the overall UN intervention, UNOPS seeks to support the Government of Nepal in planning and implementing strategic infrastructure rehabilitation, and to assist with the enforcement of building codes, hazard mapping and build-back-better initiatives.
Concepts have been developed for site assessment and risk-mitigation measures in order to provide protection against the oncoming monsoon and winter. Within the coordination platforms set up by the UN and the Government of Nepal, UNOPS is also looking at opening and maintaining access to remote districts. UNOPS intervention is included in the UN Flash Appeal and donors' contributions are currently being negotiated.
"The aftermath of not one, but two, devastating earthquakes in Nepal has left many people in need of immediate shelter, especially as the country nears the annual monsoon season," said UNOPS Executive Director, Ms. Grete Faremo. "Longer-term, sustainable infrastructure solutions are also needed and UNOPS teams of specialists are available to support the Government of Nepal."
UNOPS has been supporting infrastructure work in Nepal for the past five years, building and retro-fitting public buildings. Since the beginning of 2015, UNOPS team has been working on a project funded by the UK Department for International Development, to support the improvement of police services to communities across the country. The project will upgrade and expand the infrastructure and equipment, while at the same time support the development of effective performance management systems for the Nepalese police force. This project will ultimately cover 28 districts in Nepal, including areas unaffected by the earthquake. As such, the team will continue its regular activities, while supporting the short-term and long-term response to the disaster.
For further information on UNOPS role in building sustainable infrastructure, please refer to: