AT least 940,000 children living in areas severely affected by yesterday’s earthquake in Nepal are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.
The 7.9-magnitude earthquake, which struck on 25 April, and nearly 60 aftershocks, has caused vast devastation across much of the country, including more than 2,000 deaths and widespread destruction of buildings.
UNICEF staff in Nepal report dwindling supplies of water and food, power outages, and downed mobile networks. Hundreds of thousands of people spent the night sleeping in open areas, out of fear of more tremors. Heavy rain is now also reported to be worsening conditions.
UNICEF Australia has launched an emergency appeal to support its humanitarian response. Donations can be made at unicef.org.au or by calling 1300 884 233.
UNICEF Australia’s International Programs Manager, Felicity Wever, said UNICEF has deep concern for the children, who are most vulnerable at times of disaster.
“This crisis leaves children particularly vulnerable – limited access to safe water and sanitation will put children at great risk from waterborne diseases, while some children may have become separated from their families,” Ms Wever said.
“UNICEF is mobilising staff and emergency supplies to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of children affected by the earthquake, focusing on water and sanitation, nutrition, education and child protection.
“UNICEF is already supporting tankering of water and provision of oral rehydration salts and zinc supplements to people gathered in informal camp sites, and providing tents for field medical facilities, using supplies already prepositioned in the country.
“The challenge right now is to reach extremely remote communities which have been hit hard and urgently need humanitarian assistance.”
Two cargo flights are being dispatched with a combined 120 tonnes of UNICEF supplies, including medical and hospital supplies, tents and blankets, for urgent airlift to Kathmandu.
UNICEF Nepal Communications Officer, Rupa Joshi, is on the ground in Kathmandu.
“Last night was a sleepless one for most people in Kathmandu. Sleep does not come easily when the earth shakes violently every now and then,” she said.
“At other times, we feel violent shakes that seem capable of uprooting the house, trees, anything. It was this kind of strong shaking that jolted us early this morning. And then in the afternoon the earth shook again violently, with such ferocity that it was hard to remain standing.
“Making my way to the UNICEF office later in the day, I passed a field where displaced families have gathered. There seem to be more people there than yesterday. It looks almost like a tented city.”
Source: UNICEF Australia
Image Source: UNICEF Sokol