Nepal Earthquake: Pregnant Women in Urgent Need of Assistance, CARE Warns

Nepal Earthquake: Pregnant Women in Urgent Need of Assistance, CARE Warns

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Many health clinics have been destroyed; CARE starts distributing safe birthing kits to remote villages

KATHMANDU, Nepal (May 11, 2015) — An estimated 126,000 pregnant women affected by the devastating earthquake in Nepal are in urgent need of health services, warns the international humanitarian organisation CARE. “More than 15 percent of these pregnant women will experience some form of life threatening complication during delivery if they don’t receive medical aid as soon as possible,” says Carolyn Baer, CARE’s senior technical advisor for sexual, reproductive health in emergencies. Even prior to the earthquake Nepal had one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world, with 170 out of 100,000 women dying during their pregnancy or birth. The main challenges encountered by aid organisations such as CARE are lack of access to remote but hardest-hit areas.

In the coming four weeks, 14,000 women are expected to give birth in Nepal. An estimated 2,000 of them are at risk of experiencing complications that require emergency obstetric care. “Millions of Nepalese have lost everything in the earthquake. Pregnant women who now live in temporary shelter with insufficient health care and food are at particular risk. The teams on the ground are working under high pressure to reach all pregnant women and mothers with new-borns in the districts CARE is working in. We need to make sure that giving birth for women affected by this catastrophe does not turn into another personal tragedy.”

CARE has started distributing reproductive health kits to villages in Gorkha this week that include essential medicines and supplies for birthing attendants to handle medical complications in delivery. “Countless women in rural areas no longer have access to healthcare because many of the health clinics have been destroyed. Also, many clinics and hospitals are overwhelmed by people injured in the quake,” reports Lex Kassenberg, CARE’s country director in Nepal. In cooperation with the regional health offices CARE will also be providing clean delivery kits and dignity kits to women affected by the earthquake.  

Since the earthquake hit on April 25, CARE has reached nearly 11,000 people with food, emergency shelter and hygiene items. CARE is scaling up its response to reach 100,000 of the most vulnerable people, with a focus on the remote areas of Nepal. Over the next month CARE plans to distribute weather-resistant emergency shelter to 30,000 people in preparation for the monsoon rains. In the coming week, vital food and shelter items are being distributed to villages in Sindhupalchowk and Dhading.

CARE has launched an appeal of $40 million to provide emergency relief and long-term recovery. It takes $250 to provide a month’s worth of food for a family and $220 to provide a family with emergency shelter. Donations can be made at

CARE has worked in Nepal since 1978, in areas such as food security, HIV/AIDS, health, education, water and sanitation, and the empowerment of women and girls. The organization responded to floods in the mid- and far-west of the country in 2014, and works in 33 of 75 Nepal’s districts.

Media contacts

Nicole Harris,, 404-979-9503. Brian Feagans,, 404-979-9453.

About CARE

Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE has more than six decades of experience helping people prepare for disasters, providing lifesaving assistance when a crisis hits, and helping communities recover after the emergency has passed. CARE places special focus on women and children, who are often disproportionately affected by disasters. To learn more, visit


Mingwa Lama sits in a makeshift tent after losing her home to the earthquake in Nepal on April 25. She is eight months pregnant and caring for her 22-month-old child. © 2015 Prashanth Vishwanathan/CARE