Responding to Nepal’s Disaster: Helping People Get Back on Their Feet

Crowdfunding for Scaling Up a Prototype on Debris Management

Sep 30, 2015

What is the context?

On April 25, 2015, Nepal witnessed one of the biggest tragedies in its recorded history. A devastating earthquake claimed more than 8,500  lives, more than 22,000 people suffered injuries, and over 800,000 houses were completely destroyed or damaged, leaving some 3 million people displaced just before the monsoon season. Out of 75 districts in Nepal, 33 were affected by the earthquake and subsequent tremors, 14 sustained heavy damage.  In the hardest hit districts, nearly 95 percent of the infrastructure and homes s were destroyed.

City centres in the worst-affected districts are in ruins and public infrastructure lies broken. . Many frontline government services are recovering slowly and hundreds of thousands have lost their livelihoods. From the day the quake struck, UNDP has been committed to helping Nepal recover from this disaster.

Immediately following the quake, UNDP launched a number of Early Recovery programmes that provided immediate assistance to the affected population, while addressing underlying vulnerabilities.

What is UNDP’s Role in Nepal’s recovery?

UNDP helped Government of Nepal assess the level of damage and what was needed for recovery by actively participating in the Post Disaster Needs Assessment. Soon after, UNDP assisted the Government of Nepal to in formulating a comprehensive Early Recovery programme spanning three years. This initiative is being implemented under the leadership of the Government of Nepal. UNDP’s Early Recovery programme focuses on a several areas including Demolition and Debris Management, National Reconstruction, Livelihoods, Community Infrastructure, Foundations for Housing Reconstruction, Restoring Government Services and Disaster and Climate Risk Management. These programmes are primarily aimed at enhancing partnerships and mobilizing resources to keep the Demolition and Debris Management work going, to help support and fast track the reconstruction effort.

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What is this crowdfunding going to support [Debris Management]?

UNDP is in the vanguard of demolition and debris management following the earthquake, and is empowering thousands of affected people in the hardest hit districts of Nepal. Debris management and demolition is a priority, because without clearing debris it is impossible to start the reconstruction.

Thousands of houses damaged by the earthquake need to be safely demolished, and that requires trained workers guided by trained engineers. Unsafe demolition would cause injuries, death, and could result in further damages. This underscores the need and urgency of safe demolition.

Debris is also a health hazard, and poses the risk of spreading diseases. For survivors, it can cause psychological trauma.  For people living in the mountainous regions there is no additional flat land to build shelters or homes and most do not have the flexibility or resources to move to other places. This means removing debris is urgent not only for allowing people to build shelters or reconstruct homes, but it also serves to enhance the mental and physical health of the population living in the affected areas.

UNDP’s Cash-for-Work for work programme  is injecting much needed money into  cash-starved villages, and impart leadership skills, providing people with anthem opportunity to work together  and help one another get back on their feet.

UNDP, in partnership with Microsoft, is developing cutting-edge technologies that are simplifying our early recovery efforts, increasing our efficiency, promoting transparency and helping us to do more with our resources. Within  three months, UNDP has employed over 3,000 people (43 percent women) through its cash-for-work programme, and has deployed field teams  that include 90 Nepali civil engineers working as UN Volunteers, who have been trained by international demolition and debris experts. These teams have demolished over 3,000 damaged structures in some of the hardest-hit and most remote areas. And over 170,000 cubic metres of debris has been cleared so far.

Through UNDP’s partnership with Microsoft, new innovative technologies are being tested and refined in Nepal. This has resulted in the creation of a successful and highly replicable mobile application that can be adapted and deployed to aid in any disaster recovery and relief effort across the world. This application will be shared with other international aid organizations engaged in post disaster relief work. It will facilitate consistency of data collection, secure data storage, enhance project management and planning, and aid in transparency and collaboration between all agencies responding to a disaster. It will therefore revolutionize how aid organizations collect and share data on a global scale.

Over the next year, UNDP will continue to provide large-scale support focused on rebuilding public buildings, like schools and clinics, in 14 of the worst affected districts. Our objective is to support 15,000 people with emergency employment. This program has the potential to benefit over 240,000 people. The income earned through emergency employment will give an economic boost to many of the most vulnerable people, while simultaneously ensuring quick recovery of public services. . The Cash-For-Work programmed is aimed at jump starting the local economy and getting communities in crisis back on their feet.

Funding Information

In the first phase, UNDP calls for the funding partnership to mobilize US$ 1,000,000 to help scale up its prototypes in debris management and rehabilitation of entrepreneurs. The amount will help us demolish and clear debris from 1500 houses while employing 5,000 local people in hard hit areas.


Houses to be demolished with $1m
Over 1500 houses
Per house cost
Around 650 USD each, 80% of this money stays in the local community
How many people will be employed for how long?
This will provide emergency employment to over 4,000 people in the hardest hit areas

What are other results?

Training and capacity building of local engineers through safe demolition practices,
Lessons on why building failed (disaster risk reduction),
Distribution of tools to local communities, recovery and recycling of building materials

Crowdfunding link [Donate Now]:

Additional Documentation
How innovative technology is easing UNDP’s early recovery works

UNDP helps restore communities through debris management

Saving schools in Sindhupalchowk through debris management

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