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Nepal earthquake: Protecting children in crisis

SOS Children is working to reunite children with their families (Photo: ScanPix)
SOS Children is working to reunite children with their families (Photo: ScanPix)

Yesterday's magnitude 7.8 earthquake was the worst to strike Nepal in 80 years, with deaths estimated at almost 2,000 so far. The disaster has separated many children from their parents, causing crisis for thousands of families. SOS Children is acting to reunite families, care for unaccompanied children, and provide safe spaces for traumatised children.

The quake struck 50 miles northwest of Nepal's capital Kathmandu, with casualties reported in neighbouring China, India and Bangladesh as well.

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Children vulnerable as humanitarian crisis unfolds

The epicentre of the earthquake was 50m northwest of KathmanduSo far, more than 1,900 people have been reported dead, with 700 killed in Kathmandu alone. Homes were destroyed or weakened, and many people spent last night on the streets in expectation of further aftershocks. The death count is expected to rise as many parts affected by the quake remain inaccessible in a country where infrastructure to remote regions is limited. In particular, concerns remain about villagers living near the isolated epicentre.

As so often happens at times of crisis, children are the most vulnerable, with many left alone and scared as scenes of horror unfold around them. SOS Children International's chief executive Richard Pichler says: “SOS Children's Villages has had a significant presence in Nepal since the 1970s, and we're going to be leveraging our resources and experience there to provide urgent help to children directly impacted by the disaster. This includes children who are unaccompanied, those who have lost their homes and those whose families are struggling to care for them because of the tragedy.

What are we doing?

We are focusing support on children and families affected by the crisis.

  • Reuniting families: In the chaos of disaster, many children have been separated from their parents. We are working to bring families back together.
  • Caring for orphans: For orphans and children who cannot be reunited with their parents, we will work to establish the best care solutions. As the crisis unfolds, we may provide homes for the children in our Children's Villages.
  • Child-friendly spaces: When disaster strikes, things can be hectic, and this is frightening for children. Our child-friendly spaces provide a place where children can escape the chaos, where trained counsellors provide support, and where they can play and mix with others their own age. It also allows parents the space to provide for their family's needs.

To families affected by the crisis, we make this pledge:

“To those parents who are separated from their children, we offer our commitment to make every effort to reunite them with you or your family. And on behalf of parents who have perished in this terrible tragedy, we offer care or other support for the children to the best of our ability.”
—Richard Pichler, Chief Executive, SOS Children International

How you can help

You can help protect Nepal's most vulnerable children at this time of crisis by making a small monthly donation to our work in Nepal. Your donation will be directed to where the need is greatest in Nepal right now, whether this be towards our emergency response to the earthquake, our Children's Villages, or our ongoing community programmes.

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How else can I help?

You can make a lasting difference to a Nepalese child. By sponsoring with SOS Children today, you can give a little boy or girl a happy, healthy childhood. Find out how you can make a lasting commitment...