Nepal’s April 25 earthquake was the worst natural disaster this impoverished Asian nation has experienced in the past 80 years. As of May 4, the confirmed death toll was at 7,250, with over 14,200 people injured.
"Many children have lost everything – their homes, their warm clothes and tragically sometimes their families. The risk of disease outbreaks and exposure are very real, especially for young children. That is why we are moving fast to get hygiene kits, tarpaulins and warm children's sleeping bags out to everyone who needs it." -- Delailah Borja, Save the Children’s Nepal Country Director
The needs of children and families are immense. Hundreds of thousands of houses, health facilities and schools are reported to have been damaged or destroyed. An estimated 3.2 million children live within 60 miles of the epicenter; of them, some 320,000 are now homeless. The UN has also estimated that over 3 million people need food and over 4 million need water and hygiene supplies.
Save the Children has increased the global appeal for our humanitarian response from $50 million to $80 million. Contributions to our Nepal Children’s Relief Fund will support immediate relief and then our long-term recovery work. Our goal is to reach up to 1 million children and adults.
Save the Children’s India office is also responding to children and families there who were affected by the earthquake. The Nepal Children’s Relief Fund may also strengthen this work.
We are deeply concerned for the health of Nepalese children once the annual monsoon season begins in June. Parents are reporting that their children have fevers and diarrhea and are at risk of pneumonia. Damaged health systems may also jeopardize the health of pregnant women and newborns. There are approximately 126,000 pregnant women in the earthquake-affected area, of whom 21,000 will require obstetric care in the next three months.
Our Race to Respond
As of today, we have reached some 50,000 children and adults with aid such as blankets, shelter kits, infant clothing and hygiene supplies. Our national staff and international relief experts are working nonstop and are scaling up our humanitarian relief operations daily. From India, China, the Philippines, Dubai and Amsterdam, we are sending desperately needed supplies by truck and by air to Nepal for distribution by our relief teams.
Our fully-equipped medical/surgical team is also on the scene. We are responding to the emotional health of children who remain under tremendous stress. In looking to the weeks and months ahead, when children and families will need us just as much for their recovery, we are preparing a long-range recovery initiative that will keep us by their side throughout the next several years.
Breaking News of our Rapid Responses
We have begun opening child-friendly spaces in camps of displaced families, bringing a safe space, routine, and a sense of normalcy back to the lives of affected children.
We were distributing 800 tarps in Kiranchowk today; our partners were providing tarps, sleeping bags and infant care kits in the badly damaged Kumari District.
Tons of supplies, including tarps, plastic sheets, jerry cans, buckets, tents, children’s sleeping bags, medical kits and solar lamps are being sent by air from our warehouses in the Philippines, Dubai and Amsterdam and by road from India.
Our India country office has assembled 3,000 food packs for Nepalese families.
We continue to expand our response as access to remote communities is re-established
Responding to Children and Families in India
The earthquake also affected northern India, where 198 people were killed. Severe damage was reported in West Bengal. Those affected included children and families in camps of refugees from Nepal in India.
Based on our assessments and local information, Save the Children is planning to aid 12,000 people, of whom 5,000 are children, in the Bihar and Uttar Pradesh districts. We will provide 1,500 households with food and 2,000 households with tarps, blankets, sleeping mats, hygiene kits, and household utility kits. We will also seek to open child-friendly spaces to provide protection and educational support to children, as child trafficking is a concern in the affected area.
As these immediate needs are met, we will also seek to provide “cash-for-work” opportunities for 1,500 families in clearing debris and repairing houses. Another 500 vulnerable families would receive help resuming farming and non-farming income activities. We would also support children’s education by providing education kits to children and replacing materials at damaged schools.
Our Long-range Recovery Plans in Nepal
Save the Children will continue to assess the situation and adapt our responses to meet the immediate needs of children and their families. Even as these needs are being met, we are also preparing a long-term, integrated response to address conditions that will have an impact on children’s lives and well-being for years to come.
We will focus on children’s health and nutrition, their access to clean water and sanitation, access to education and protection services; and families’ transition to improved shelter, livelihoods and food security.
We expect to:
Support transitional shelter activities
Promote improved hygiene practices
Rehabilitate water sources
Provide material to health systems and train
Manage communicable diseases to help
Provide supplementary and/or therapeutic
Support infant and young child feeding activity
Establish temporary schools and learning
spaces and rehabilitate schools
Provide children with psychosocial support. We will be coordinating all child protection programming in the Sindupalchowk District; overall, our child protection activities will be targeting over 200,000 children in 12 districts
Provide cash and/or in-kind food assistance to families
Help families who depend on agriculture to regain this livelihood
Rehabilitate local market infrastructure
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