When you're a child, three months can feel like a lifetime. Best friends are made and lost, tasks that once seemed impossible become routine and clothes miraculously become too small. But for a lot of children in Nepal, daily life in the three months since the earthquake has become unrecognisable. Shocking figures released by the UN show just how hard it is for many children in Nepal right now.
According to the UN, approximately one million children are living in areas at high risk of landslides and floods. To make matters worse, access to remote areas is becoming increasingly difficult due to the monsoon, which is putting more children at risk of exploitation and abuse. Since the earthquake 10,000 children have become acutely malnourished.
Intika is seven. She was at her family's corner shop with her father, Bhuwon, when the quake struck. Terrified, she burst into tears as her father picked her up and rushed out onto the street with her in his arms.
Her mother had been doing the laundry at a water tap nearby. Intika couldn't see her in the chaotic streets amid the clouds of dust created by collapsing buildings. She screamed out for her mother, fearing that she was dead, until they finally found one another.
Her father says that for more than two months after the quake Intika would wake up in the middle of the night crying. Thankfully, her recurring nightmares have now stopped. "I feel safer now because the earthquakes have stopped coming," she says.
ActionAid and our local partner organisations gave Intika's family rice, lentils, sugar and materials for a temporary shelter. But Intika just wants her life to return to normal.
She says that what she missed most after the earthquakes was going to school, where her favourite things are drawing dolls and playing hide and seek with her friends Sabda and Bibasa. Her school recently reopened and she was delighted to be reunited with her friends, but there's a long way to go before her life returns to normal.
"Run, it’s an earthquake!"
Four-year-old Anugraha was outside playing with sand when the earth began to shake. His mother ran out from their house, holding his sister, and she found Anugraha screaming in fright. He grabbed onto her and held tight. As the quake and aftershocks continued, she stood in the field holding her two frightened children in her arms.
Anugraha’s mother said, “Anugraha shouted and cried when the earthquake hit; and now every time there is an aftershock, he shouts ‘Run, it’s an earthquake!’”
She says she feels very insecure about the future, as their house is so badly damaged and cracked that it is now uninhabitable. Anugraha's father abandoned the family four years ago, and building a new home is very expensive. ActionAid is supporting Anugraha's family by giving them food and tin roofing for their temporary shelter.
How ActionAid is helping children in Nepal
ActionAid is helping children like Intika and Anugraha by building 28 temporary learning centres to replace collapsed schools in Rasuwa, Kavre and Dolakha districts. We have been supporting children's clubs in Nepal for five years, and now these clubs are vital in giving children a safe space where they can play, learn, and come to terms with their trauma.
We have already constructed 1,500 temporary shelters in Sindhupalchok and 600 shelters in Rasuwa, so that families have a safe place to live during the reconstruction, and plan to build 500 more.