Nepal earthquake: HelpAge first to provide cash assistance to survivors


By Sarah Gillam

More than 2,100 older people aged 60 or over in Nepal have been given US$75 each to spend on urgently needed items in distributions by HelpAge International working with local partners. 

An older woman receiving her cash transfer. An older woman receiving her cash transfer. (c) Sachin Shrestha/HelpAge International

Older people in and around Kathmandu were given cash assistance if their homes had been damaged by the earthquake, which the government reports has killed nearly 8,000 people so far, and left more than 17,000 injured.

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck 77 km northwest of Nepal's capital Kathmandu at 0611 GMT on 25 Apr 2015.

A chance to buy what they need most

Peter McGeachie, Regional Director for HelpAge South Asia Regional Office, said: "Giving older people money offers them a chance to buy whatever they need at this difficult time. Some people may need items for shelter, others may need food and clean water. By giving cash they can use the money flexibly."

The distribution took place with local partners Nepal Participatory Action Network  (NEPAN) and Women for Human Rights (WHR) and in coordination with district authorities and the village development committees. HelpAge International is planning to reach 10,000 older people within the next couple of weeks.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) Cash Working Group recognised HelpAge International as being the first humanitarian organisation to provide cash assistance to those affected by the earthquake.

Older people included in Cash for Work scheme

As a result of our advocacy work to raise awareness about the issues faced by older people affected by the earthquake, the World Food Programme has included older people and other vulnerable groups in their Cash for Work for Early Recovery guidelines.

This allows older people a chance to participate through lighter work options. If they are not fit to work, they will be provided with a cash benefit.

What you can do

To support older people affected by the Nepal earthquake:

>> Donate from the UK

>> Donate from the US

>> Donate from elsewhere

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