25 May, 2015 - One month on: Children must be heard as Nepal recovers from twin earthquakes

Monday, May 25, marks one month since a powerful and devastating earthquake hit Nepal, killing more than 8,000 people, destroying or damaging a quarter of million homes and tens of thousands of schools, and leaving millions still displaced.
Plan International Australia spokesperson Adam Cathro has just returned after nearly three weeks in Nepal. Adam worked in the most severely affected districts of Nepal, visiting devastated communities, meeting families and experiencing first-hand the second, 7.4-magnitude, earthquake on May 12. Adam is based in Melbourne and available for interviews. Staff are also available in Nepal. Please ring Adam on 0488 202 945.
Photos and b-roll footage: bit.ly/quakeplan Please credit ‘Plan International Australia’.
Australians wishing to help the people of Nepal can donate to Plan’s earthquake appeal at plan.org.au or by ringing 13 75 26.

The voices of children must be heard and acted upon as Nepal begins the challenging task of rebuilding and recovering from a powerful earthquake that killed thousands and left many more homeless one month ago, says child rights organisation Plan International Australia.

Many of the people most affected by April’s powerful earthquake – and the strong quake that followed on May 12 – are children, who are frequently vulnerable as they are separated from their families or thrust from the familiar securities of their homes and schools and into makeshift tent cities.

“In any disaster, it is always children who are the most vulnerable. For the youngest kids, especially, it can be difficult to understand and cope with the upheaval that a powerful earthquake can bring. And the second earthquake revives all their initial fears, and that can be tough to process,” says Mattias Bryneson, Plan Nepal Country Director.

To support children in their right to be heard and to find out their needs and concerns, Plan International, in partnership with other agencies have begun consulting with children in Nepal. The results of those consultations will help shape the organisation’s recovery plans as Nepal rebuilds after the earthquakes.

Plan has supported children in its relief work since the April 25 earthquake, establishing Child Friendly Spaces where kids can start their recovery through songs, dance and games. Plan will also be establishing temporary learning spaces so that children whose schools have been destroyed or damaged can continue their studies.

“When schools are closed there is an increased risk of children dropping out, potentially permanently. Children are also at increased risk of exploitation and trafficking when not in school. This makes it all the more crucial that we get temporary schools opened and provide a safe and secure environment for children,” Bryneson says.

Plan’s support for communities also continues, with distribution of relief aid to some of the worst affected areas of Nepal, including Sindhupalchok, Dolakha and Makwanpur districts.

So far Plan has delivered:

More than 22,400 tarpaulins, plus ropes, blankets, mattresses and mosquito bed nets, to provide emergency shelter for families forced to sleep in the open.
Plan has also distributed more than 9,400 food packs, over 42,000 water purification tabs and close to 3,000 water kits.
Altogether, Plan has reached over 103,000 people in need of support, including more than 43,000 children.

Bryneson says that aid distributions will continue, even as recovery plans are established and put into action.

Editors’ notes:
Plan is one of the oldest and largest children's development organisations in the world, founded 77 years ago, working in 51 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas and supported by 21 donor countries. Plan is independent, with no religious, political or governmental affiliations.

Media contact: Adam Cathro, Plan International Australia, Media Relations Manager, 0488 202 945