Shankar showed video clips of the Kathmandu streets when the 7.8-Richter
earthquake struck, giving us a small idea of the terrifying experience. Nearly 9,000 people died and more than 22,000 were injured, though if the quake had hit during the week when children were at school, the death toll would have been much higher; in the 14 worst affected districts, 95% of schools collapsed.
A response to be proud of
Shankar gave a wonderful talk on how SOS teams responded to help children and families in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake. For example, in Dhulikhel, Kavre, where 90% of houses were destroyed, a large relief camp was set up for displaced families.
Shankar was particularly proud of how SOS young people from our Village helped care for children at the camp, as shown in the picture of one SOS teenager looking after an infant at Kavre.
In the weeks and months which followed, SOS teams worked to reunify children with their families and distribute food and tents. Nine child-friendly spaces were also set up across the affected districts and looked after around 2,000 children every day while their families began the process of rebuilding their lives. Three of these childfriendly spaces were in Sindhulpalchowk, which suffered the highest death toll due to the collapse of all the houses.
The focus will now move on to helping communities reconstruct houses and schools. SOS Children’s Villages is also running a ‘home-in-a-box’ scheme to distribute essential household items and will support extended families who have taken in orphaned children.
39 children who have been left with no one to care for them have been taken into SOS Villages at Bharatpur, Gandaki, Kavre and Sanothimi. Shankar estimates that another 150-200 orphans will be moved into our Villages in the next year. This process is taking some time because the Nepalese government has temporarily suspended the movement of children from the earthquake affected districts to prevent child trafficking. But once restrictions are removed, staff in Nepal look forward to welcoming these children into loving homes as soon as possible.
A big thank you to our supporters
On behalf of everyone in Nepal, Shankar thanked all our supporters and corporate partners who gave so generously. Our UK appeal raised an incredible £387,000! The first tranche of this money has gone to Nepal and the remainder will be transferred as the new reconstruction and support programmes get underway.
We have been working in Nepal for 42 years, meaning that we were well placed to respond both rapidly and effectively when the earthquake's struck. Find out more about our work in Nepal.
Please note that our Nepal emergency appeal is now closed.