Nepal one year on: Children still suffering effects of devastating earthquake

25th April 2016

 UNICEF offers special thank you to Irish people, for their unending support

DUBLIN 25 April 2016 –Today marks one year since a devastating earthquake in Nepal killed some 9,000 people, one third of whom were children.

Homes, health posts and schools bore the brunt of the earthquake; millions of people were forced from their homes.

Twelve months on, UNICEF is happy to report some modest recovery in the Himalayan nation. Circumstances have improved for many of those affected by the disaster, but thousands of schools still need to be rebuilt.

The children’s agency is taking this opportunity to thank Irish people for their generous donations to the relief operation.

In the immediate aftermath of the quake, those donations were channeled into emergency provisions like safe drinking water, medical tents and essential drugs. UNICEF was able to respond rapidly because the charity already had supplies pre-positioned in country.

In the months that followed, Nepal and UNICEF moved into a reconstruction phase rebuilding schools, medical centres and homes – repairing lives.

There is still a long way to go.

Many children are studying in temporary learning centres, which need to be replaced.

Many health posts and birthing centres are still operating out of tents. Keeping children free from disease in these circumstances is a constant challenge.

Some families are sleeping in makeshift shelters, close to their destroyed homes.

There is also the fear that children living in impoverished circumstances could be forced into child labour, including the threat of trafficking.

UNICEF Ireland Executive Director Peter Power has just returned from a field visit to Nepal:

“What struck me most was the fact that 8,000 schools were completely demolished in 45 seconds. That is more than all of the schools in Ireland – gone. I saw first-hand the effect that had on children.”

“In one village I visited, they had just built a new school when the quake hit. All of the children were so looking forward to moving into their new school, but that was demolished, as was their old school. To see the difference between the old sheds they are now learning in, compared to where they should have been – the children were just devastated.”

Despite the resilience of her people, Nepal remains vulnerable and damaged. UNICEF continues to support the children of Nepal.

Parts of the country are at high risk of another earthquake. UNICEF is working to build up communities, so that they are prepared for any disaster that may come their way.

Schools, health institutions and water and sanitation facilities must be constructed, and with possible future earthquakes in mind.

Your donations made a difference to the children of Nepal this past troubled year. Thank you.

NOTES FOR EDITORS

UNICEF Ireland Executive Director Peter Power recently returned from Nepal and is available for interview on the topic of the anniversary. Quality images from his visit available on request.

Embeddable video content from Nepal on our Facebook page, featuring Hollywood actor Orlando Bloom.

Photos from UNICEF’s work in Nepal available here

About UNICEF
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.  For more information about UNICEF and its work visit www.unicef.ie.

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For further information please contact:

Aedín Donnelly, Communications and Media Manager for UNICEF Ireland aedin@unicef.ie | Tel: +353 1 809 0281 | Mob: +353 85 1395272 

 

ENDS