On 26 April 2015, disaster struck Nepal in the most devastating way – leading to unimaginable losses.
The worst natural disaster to strike the country since 1934, the earthquake killed almost 9,000 people, injured nearly 22,000 and damaged more than a million homes, leaving 3.5 million people without shelter.
We sent an emergency response team to join vets already in Nepal in an effort to support animal welfare through veterinary support and care, and to undertake key livestock vaccinations.
We worked with a number of Nepalese animal welfare organisations and charities to deploy a rapid action response, which mostly involved running essential rural outreach clinics. Even in these rural areas, many families had been affected by the earthquake, particularly those with farm animals – livestock is a priority for these people and their loss means further economic deprivation for already poor families.
The WVS also had a veterinary presence in Kathmandu, where we helped animal welfare charities and organisations in and around the area by treating dogs, goats, cows and more – as well as providing essential veterinary supplies. Despite best efforts, rubble still hasn’t been cleared in areas of Nepal.
Our emergency response team was able to hit the ground running and treat animals that wouldn’t necessarily have received veterinary care. In particular, we treated street dogs in the Kathmandu Valley, which has a particularly high canine population density. The Nepalese earthquake had a devastating impact on the people and animals in the affected regions. However, as you can see from some of the photos, Nepal is still badly affected by the earthquake. While most of the debris has been cleared, some areas still have piles of rubble everywhere.
An estimated 800,000 buildings destroyed by the earthquake have not been rebuilt. The Red Cross has estimated four million people are still living in sub-standard temporary shelters, and at least four of the seven Unesco World Heritage sites in the Kathmandu Valley were dramatically affected.
In emergency situations, or at times of a disaster, WVS is able to respond quickly. Charities in disaster zones, or experiencing a veterinary emergency, are able to contact us for help and we can send either veterinary teams equipped with supplies or veterinary aid parcels containing what’s needed to respond to the situation.
We are continuing to work in Nepal, and currently run a veterinary training course in practical surgical techniques for veterinary students from local universities. Our aim is to help build the veterinary capacity in Nepal so local vets are better equipped to deal with emergency situations in the future.
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