Nepal: Getting Cash into the Hands of Survivors in Need

When a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal in April, many families were left without shelter. Until their homes can be rebuilt or repaired, earthquake survivors are salvaging materials from the rubble to construct temporary shelter.

To help with this process, the global Red Cross network is giving families shelter toolkits with items such as handsaws, nails, wire, hammers, shovels, rope and plastic sheeting. Local volunteers train people how to use these tools, reclaim local materials to supplement the toolkits, and reinforce their temporary shelters. Along with the shelter toolkits, the American Red Cross is providing cash assistance—approximately $150 per family—to families impacted by the disaster. Thus far, more than 34,000 families have received the shelter toolkits and cash grants.

“We used the money to buy tin sheets. It keeps us from getting all wet when it rains,” says Shree Karki, whose home in Sikharpur village was completely destroyed by the spring earthquake.

Getting cash directly into the hands of survivors enables them to purchase items that meet their most urgent needs. Some families buy extra food, medicine, or invest in their small businesses, while others purchase building materials locally or hire local workers, which in turn can help the economy recover.

Since April 2015, the American Red Cross has deployed more than 35 disaster specialists to the Himalayan country, who are working alongside responders belonging to Red Cross and Red Crescent societies from around the globe. Christopher Herby deployed to Nepal on the 15th of July and shot this video during his time working on the emergency response.