On April 25, 2015, a massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake devastated Nepal, affecting 39 of the country’s 75 districts and causing 8,622 deaths and 16,808 injuries, as well as significant damage to homes, buildings, health facilities, and cultural heritage sites. 2.8 million people were displaced, and thousands of families instantly lost access to household energy for cooking, lighting, heating, and powering. Without power to charge mobile phones, families could not reach loved ones or call for help. Lack of lighting made it unsafe to venture outside at night, and limited critical activities such as working or studying after dark. More than 75,000 households saw their cooking technology damaged or destroyed, leading to an inability to prepare nutritious meals for their families.
In response to the crisis, numerous humanitarian and energy stakeholders mobilized to provide support and access to energy for earthquake victims. Without a central coordinating body, however, these agencies risked duplicating efforts, wasting resources, and providing uneven or ineffective assistance across communities. In response to this need, the SAFE Humanitarian Working Group coordinated efforts among humanitarian response agencies, community-based organizations, international NGOs, private companies, and the Government of Nepal to assess energy needs and respond accordingly with distributions of solar lamps, fuel efficient cookstoves, off-grid power systems, mobile charging units, and other critical energy supplies to earthquake survivors. The SAFE Working Group hosted weekly conference calls, shared updated response activities and requests as partner reports came in, and maintained a Nepal energy response activity map and resource list.
In addition to the 86,147 energy products coordinated and distributed in 2015, several organizations have planned further distribution in 2016. Currently, planned products include 61,240 more cookstoves through AEPC, Practical Action, and Envirofit; 1085 more solar lights and chargers from Waka Waka, and 10,000 more solar home systems through AEPC.
The energy recovery efforts continue, and are being coordinated by the Government of Nepal’s Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC), which took over the role in July 2015. If you would like to participate in recovery and rebuilding efforts to provide crucial energy products and services to earthquake victims, please contact Shubha Shrestha at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The SAFE Working Group will continue to maintain the Nepal Energy Activities Map and Resource List – see below. These tools can be used to learn about and coordinate activities by project location and technology type, as well as share needs assessments, project reports, and other documents that may be useful for on-the-ground responders. Responders may also Add a Project or Add a Resource to be featured on this page.