One month on: Children’s concerns and voices must be heard as Nepal recovers from devastating earthquakes
Plan International focusing on children and hardest-hit communities
TORONTO, May 25, 2015 – One month after a powerful earthquake in Nepal killed more than 8,630 people, left many more homeless, and destroyed livelihoods, Plan is continuing to reach some of the hardest-hit communities and most at-risk populations, and is working to ensure the voices of children are heard.
Many of the people most affected by April's powerful earthquake – and the strong tremor that followed on May 12 – are children, who were made vulnerable by the trauma they experienced, the separation from their families, the disruption to their education, and the stress of living in unfamiliar settings such as makeshift tent cities. These factors have also led to an increased risk of children – especially girls – being abused, exploited and trafficked.
“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 mid-month revives all their initial fears, and that can be tough to process," says Mattias Bryneson, Plan Nepal Country Director.
It is vital to not only prioritize children in providing relief assistance but to also ensure that their voices are factored into the process of rebuilding. Plan is partnering with other agencies to consult children on their needs and concerns, which will help shape Plan's recovery plans moving forward. The results will also be shared with the government of Nepal, the UN and other humanitarian agencies, urging them to incorporate the needs and concerns of children into their own recovery plans.
"Children have a right to be consulted in decisions that affect them. The burden of the recovery will be as much their task as it will be adults', so they must be given the opportunity to play an important role in the recovery. That's why it is crucially important that we speak with – and listen to – children right now," says Bryneson.
"It is also important not to forget girls. Girls are particularly vulnerable to trafficking, forced prostitution, sexual violence, forced labour and increased early and forced marriage. It can be more difficult for girls to make their voices heard, so we will ensure the most vulnerable can be heard – including girls," Bryneson says.
While focused on children's safety and wellbeing, Plan is providing a range of humanitarian supports that reflect the greatest needs, including shelter, food, and clean water.
Plan's impact one month on:
- Plan is continuing to distribute emergency relief aid to some of the worst affected areas of Nepal, including Sindupalchowk, Dolakha and Makwanpur districts. Close to 96% of houses in Sindupalchowk and 100% of houses in Dolakha have been either damaged or destroyed.
- Plan has delivered more than 24,400 emergency shelter packs, 10,400 food packs, 42,600 water purification tabs, and 4,700 water kits.
- Plan is working to establish 100 Child Friendly Spaces, which will have the capacity to support up to 20,000 children a day on a path to recovery through songs, dance and games as well as raise awareness around child protection in communities.
- Plan has set up help desks at distribution points, where children and adults can access life-saving messages and report protection concerns for Plan staff to follow up.
- Plan has delivered 1,300 education kits to affected areas and is creating temporary learning spaces where children can resume their studies.
- Altogether, Plan has reached more than 112,000 people in urgent need of support, including more than 47,000 children.
Canadians have shown incredible generosity in the aftermath of the April 25th earthquake, but the need remains great. Canadians are urged to continue to donate towards life-saving humanitarian assistance to the people of Nepal. As a member of the Humanitarian Coalition, Plan Canada is working collaboratively with other Canadian agencies to build awareness and raise funds to support the humanitarian response in Nepal.
Available for interviews and comment on the situation on the ground following the latest earthquake in Nepal:
- Dena Allen, Emergency Response Communications Manager, Plan International (a Canadian)
- Matthias Bryneson, Nepal Country Director, Plan International
- Emergency response experts
For more information on Plan’s response to the earthquake in Nepal, please visit plancanada.ca
About Plan and the Because I am a Girl initiative
Founded in 1937, Plan is one of the world’s oldest and largest international development agencies, working in partnership with millions of people around the world to end global poverty. Not for profit, independent and inclusive of all faiths and cultures, Plan has only one agenda: to improve the lives of children. Because I am a Girl is Plan’s global initiative to end gender inequality, promote girls’ rights and lift millions of girls – and everyone around them – out of poverty. Visit plancanada.ca and becauseiamagirl.ca for more information.
About the Humanitarian Coalition
The Humanitarian Coalition is Canada’s only joint appeal mechanism for humanitarian assistance. It is comprised of CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Québec, Plan Canada and Save the Children Canada. With a combined presence in more than 120 countries, we bring together Canada's leading aid agencies to finance relief efforts in times of international humanitarian crises. We work together to eliminate unnecessary competition, reduce the duplication of fundraising costs, and inform the public on humanitarian needs. For mor information, visit together.ca
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"One month on: Plan International making an impact delivering life-saving aid"
SOURCE: Plan Canada
Abigail Brown, Senior Media and Public Relations Manager, Plan Canada
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