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Kathmandu, Nepal

6 months after the earthquake

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Two earthquakes hit Nepal on 25 April and 12 May 2015 and killed an estimated 8,500 people and injured another 20,000.

When the first, 7.8 magnitude, earthquake struck Nepal, with its epicentre in Gorkha district, 80 kilometres west of Kathmandu, MSF launched activities aimed at helping affected populations in need. MSF ran mobile clinics and supplied shelter and hygiene kits.  In some villages, teams found houses and health facilities totally destroyed, prompting MSF to provide the people with medical, shelter and hygiene materials. In Arughat, in Gorkha district, where the main health facility was destroyed, MSF set up an inflatable hospital.

Following the second earthquake on 12 May, MSF teams were already operational and started providing healthcare in the hours following the tremor.

In total within April and July, MSF conducted over 2,500 health consultations and provided psychological support to over 7,000 people, mostly via helicopter. MSF also treated 240 emergency patients and did over 1,200 physiotherapy sessions in the Kathmandu orthopedic hospital. The humanitarian organization also distributed food, and shelter, cooking and hygiene items to almost 15,000 households. MSF reduced its emergency activities in July 2015 and kept working through two projects in Sangha and Charikot.

After doing a health and damage assessment, an MSF team is setting up a clinic in Dhading district, a heavily affected area in the mountains to the north-west of Kathmandu, which is only reachable by helicopter and where little or no assistance has reached.
Jean Pletinckx/MSF

In Sangha, MSF has been working in the Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Center a 50-bed facility situated east of Katmandu. After the earthquake a large number of patients had surgery done in various hospitals. Most of the patients suffered injuries on the lower limbs and are now fitted with external fixation, or put in traction.  MSF provides extra capacity general rehabilitation for post-operative follow up of patients (31 until now) with physiotherapy, dressings, medical follow-up and mental health assistance. MSF is also currently constructing a new ward to the existing facility for general rehabilitation suited to welcome 50 patients. All activities will be handed over to the Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Center before the end of the year.

MSF is also providing secondary health care in Charikot, a village at the edge of the mountain, in Dolakha district, the epicenter of the second earthquake, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health. In this hospital, MSF is supporting the surgical department and the inpatient departments. All activities will be handed over to a public-private partnership within the end of the year.

MSF Response to Nepal Earthquake
The MSF evacuation helicopter prepares to depart from Diol village, Gorkha District, Nepal after returning patient Maila Gurung home on May 21 2015.
Brian Sokol/Panos Pictures