Around 1.7 million children are now in urgent need of aid in the areas worst-hit by the earthquake in Nepal, according to UNICEF.
According to a press release issued by UNICEF, the children’s organisation revealed the figure as it launched a US$50.35 million appeal to get humanitarian assistance to children and their families amid growing risk of disease outbreaks. The appeal is UNICEF’s portion of a new inter-agency fundraising ask to meet immediate needs over the next three months.
The 7.9 magnitude earthquake has killed almost 5000 people and injured more than 9700. It has also driven tens of thousands of people into open spaces and temporary camps in the Kathmandu valley and the rest of the worst-affected districts.
“The lives of so many children have been torn apart and they are in desperate need of life-saving support, including clean water, shelter and sanitation,” says Tomoo Hozumi, UNICEF Nepal Representative.
"Without a safe water supply, waterborne diseases remain huge risks for children. Many families are struggling simply to protect themselves from the sun and rain and we only expect needs to grow in the coming days as we receive more information from remoter areas and the full scale of the disaster becomes more apparent."
UNICEF is working with partners to deliver vital humanitarian assistance including clean water and shelter.
Tents, hygiene kits, water purification tablets and buckets have been dispatched to Gorkha for distribution, the area at the epicentre of the earthquake, where the presence of dead bodies poses the risk of disease outbreak. Vital supplies have also been dispatched to Kavre and Dhading.
UNICEF is delivering water purification tablets, buckets and hygiene kits in Bhaktapur where only 1 in 5 people are estimated to have access to clean water.
Water tankers are distributing clean water to 16 informal camps that have sprung up in the Kathmandu valley.
Teams are identifying and assisting children who have been separated from their families. UNICEF is working with partners to provide psychological support for children living in informal camps who have experienced extreme shock
More than 80 per cent of health facilities in the five most severely affected districts have been extensively damaged, with treatment taking place outside. 274 out of 323 schools assessed in 16 affected districts are either partially or fully damaged – highlighting the need for temporary learning spaces to protect children and allow them to establish a routine.