The Kathmandu Valley, home to 2.5 million people and seven World Heritage sites, was devastated by the April 2015 earthquake and its aftershocks. Nearly 9,000 people were killed, hundreds of thousands of homes destroyed, and many historic and religious sites flattened.

In the months following the devastation, Nepal adopted a new constitution and formed a new government, but found itself in a dispute over the representation of an ethnic group on the Indian border, the Madhesis. The agitation in the Terai region and India’s alleged tacit support of an economic blockade that began in September severely curtailed the flow of fuel, cooking gas, and essential supplies into Nepal, reversing the small gains made after the earthquake and plunging the country into an economic and political crisis.