NEPAL – Almost one million children urgently need help after an earthquake claimed more than 3,200 lives in Nepal, the UN children’s agency said, as relief workers raced to help the most vulnerable.
With thousands of children camping out in the open in the capital Kathmandu after their homes were destroyed in Saturday’s quake, UNICEF warned of the risk of disease.
“At least 940,000 children living in areas severely affected by (the) earthquake in Nepal are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance,” it said in a statement.
“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.”
UNICEF said it was mobilizing staff and sending two cargo flights with 120 tonnes of humanitarian supplies, including medical and hospital supplies, tents and blankets.
The 7.9-magnitude earthquake has devastated parts of the country, destroying buildings and ancient monuments and ripping apart roads, power lines and other infrastructure.
A ShelterBox response team is preparing to travel to Nepal to see how ShelterBox can be of assistance following an earthquake measuring 7.8 in magnitude.
The quake occurred between the major cities of Kathmandu and Pokhara , with tremors felt as far away as Delhi in India. More than 3,200 people are reported to have died following the earthquake, while there is extensive damage to homes and buildings.
ShelterBox is already in talks with several aid agencies and Rotary contacts based in Nepal to see where we can help.
Dave Ray, ShelterBox Operations Coordinator, said: ‘One of our contacts based in Kathmandu told us that the environment is filled with fear and that people have been told to expect more tremors. There is a lot of damage in Kathmandu and emergency relief will be required for sure.’
In addition, a ShelterBox response team is heading to Nepal to get a first-hand idea of the scale of destruction and the level of need for shelter. We already have aid, including tents, pre-positioned in the country, which could be used as emergency clinics, as well as shelters in the immediate aftermath.
Shelter Box delivers the essentials people need to begin rebuilding their lives in the aftermath of a disaster. When we send boxes, each one is tailored to a disaster but typically contains a disaster relief tent for a family, thermal blankets and groundsheets, water storage and purification equipment, solar lamps, cooking utensils, a basic tool kit, mosquito nets and children’s activity pack.
For colder countries, we can deliver winterized boxes that include more blankets and groundsheets and a thermal liner that fits between the inner and outer layers of the tent retaining more heat.
Sometimes our aid is not packed in boxes but sent in bulk. It is essential that we always support the needs of those who have survived disasters and this can vary enormously based on the type and scale of a disaster. We also do this to maximize donors’ money ensuring that we only send what is really needed and appropriate for the situation and culture.
We are also constantly evolving as a charity and developing our aid. There are different needs for different disasters. We sometimes provide midi tents that are a more compact version of our standard disaster relief tent. They are smaller to transport, easier to put up and take up less space, ideal for responses where space is at a premium or where temporary shelter is required for a shorter amount of time, like flooding. We can also deliver Shelter Kits containing plastic sheeting, basic tools, rope and fixings that enable families to rapidly provide their own shelter or make repairs to their damaged houses in the aftermath of a disaster.
In any disaster a large number of people without shelter will inevitably be children. Schools will often have been destroyed along with homes and other buildings. ShelterBox will, therefore, sometimes include ‘SchoolBoxes’ in their aid consignments. These contain essential supplies for teachers, including blackboard paint and chalk, along with school equipment for 50 children.
Please note: We do not fundraise separately for the SchoolBoxes. These are only sent out as part of an overall aid consignment and are paid for through general funds. This is because our main focus is on the emergency humanitarian aid and we only send these boxes where we have heard a school or several schools have been destroyed.