Red Cross Brings Aid Following Devastating Earthquakes

On April 25, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake brought devastation across much of Nepal. Followed by a series of powerful aftershocks—and a second 7.3-magnitude quake on May 12—this tragic disaster took more than 8,800 lives and reduced thousands of homes to rubble, with more than 900,000 houses either damaged or destroyed.

In the immediate aftermath of the earthquakes, generous donations to the American Red Cross helped fund critical emergency relief efforts led by the Nepal Red Cross, with shelter being a major priority for thousands of people facing the torrential rains of monsoon season. The American Red Cross distributed tarps, blankets, mattresses and toolkits to help people repair shelters. The American Red Cross and the global Red Cross network also helped provide emergency health care, water and sanitation assistance, cash grants for urgent needs and help for families to reconnect with missing loved ones.


The obstacles were daunting, with many survivors living in remote mountain villages cut off from the outside world by the earthquake. Nevertheless, the global Red Cross network has reached more than 620,000 people with lifesaving aid, providing cash grants and relief items to approximately 70,000 families, distributing tarps to help shelter more than 550,000 people and providing more than 1.2 million gallons of clean water.

“During my visit last spring, I was moved by the warmth and kindness of the Nepalese people in the midst of such heartbreaking destruction. I was also deeply impressed by their courageous and resilient spirit. As earthquake survivors begin rebuilding their lives, the American Red Cross and our global partners will stand by their side, helping communities recover and become better prepared for future emergencies.”

—Gail McGovern, President and CEO, American Red Cross

Community-Focused Recovery to Address Critical Needs

Thanks to our compassionate supporters, the American Red Cross has raised $39.9 million to help families and individuals in Nepal, and, as of October 15, we have spent or committed $35.6 million to relief and recovery assistance. Remaining funds will be used to support additional recovery and preparedness needs in Nepal.

The American Red Cross and our international partners are working with the Nepal Red Cross and local residents as they recover, engaging them as active participants and decision-makers. This community-focused effort prioritizes the key recovery elements of safer shelter, water and sanitation, public health and livelihoods.With the onset of winter weather in Nepal’s high elevations, shelter remains a top priority. Many families lost their thick-walled homes and are living in temporary shelters that offer little protection against the extreme cold. Along with immediate relief activities, like providing cash grants to purchase items such as winter clothing and blankets, the global Red Cross network has begun training builders, masons and people without training in construction to build more earthquake-resistant houses. This helps survivors rebuild their homes in a safer way, and also provides them with marketable skills. The earthquakes also disrupted water supplies and sanitation for hundreds of thousands of people, leaving them at risk of serious illness. In response, the American Red Cross has distributed water tanks and containers to store and carry water, constructed toilets and facilities for bathing and provided water purifcation tablets in earthquake-aFFected communities. The American Red Cross and our Red Cross partners will also work to repair basic water and sanitation infrastructure critical for daily household activities like cooking and bathing. In addition, the Red Cross will work to support impacted public health infrastructure and services through the provision or replacement of basic equipment and supplies in health facilities. The American Red Cross has been working closely with the Nepal Red Cross for years to help communities prepare for and reduce the impact of a large earthquake. This work remains critically important. Building on our long-standing relationship, we are now helping the Nepal Red Cross to be ready to respond at local levels when the next disaster strikes by identifying and increasing awareness of disaster risks, developing early warning systems, creating contingency and communication plans, and training on rebuilding safer shelter. Red Cross Volunteers Help Immunize Children Against MeaslesFollowing large-scale disasters, preventative public health interventions, like a recent measles and rubella campaign supported by the American Red Cross, can be as critical as relief distributions, helping prevent deadly disease outbreaks.Devaki Poudel—a single mother whose children both got measles when they were very small—joined hundreds of local Red Cross volunteers to get the word out about the campaign, which targeted nearly 600,000 children for vaccinations. Ddevaki’s house was severely damaged in the quake, and she received blankets and shelter materials from the Red Cross. “I don’t want children to suffer like mine did,” Devaki said. “And I don’t want single mothers to suffer like I did. This is why I am so happy the Red Cross has given me this chance.” Thank You The American Red Cross responds to disasters around the world by mobilizing cash support, pre-positioning relief supplies, deploying disaster response experts and, in some cases, implementing recovery and preparedness programs. The remarkable generosity of our supporters—individuals, corporations and foundations—drives our ability to provide relief and assist our partners in the global Red Cross network. We are grateful for your trust.