29 June 2015: Plan International is stepping up relief distribution to earthquake-affected communities as the monsoon season starts in Nepal – bringing not only torrential rains and landslides, but also a risk of water-borne diseases.
In such harsh conditions, it is often children who are most vulnerable to health outbreaks, particularly in cold temperatures and poor sanitation conditions.
“We hope that this monsoon will not bring another disaster. Children who currently live without access to clean water and who lack proper shelter are at risk of infections and diseases, including diarrhoea, the second largest killer of children in Nepal,” said Mattias Bryneson, Country Director for Plan International Nepal.
Reaching isolated areas
Plan is helping people to prepare for the monsoon season by distributing shelter materials, blankets, food, water kits and hygiene kits in 4 of the earthquake-affected districts, reaching more than 179,724 individuals, including over 75,000 children.
We’re in the middle of a huge humanitarian response and this work may be hampered by the rainy season if roads are blocked by landslides and floods
“We’re in the middle of a huge humanitarian response and this work may be hampered by the rainy season if roads are blocked by landslides and floods. That’s why we are building up local stocks in isolated areas and trying to distribute as much as we can before the rain gets heavy,” said Bryneson.
Sanitation and health key
Sanitation and health are among the top priorities that children have identified during consultations with Plan and partners. Many households have no access to safe drinking water and boys and girls are forced to defecate in the open after their houses, including their toilets, collapsed.
“I am not afraid of earthquakes, but I’m worried about landslides when the rain comes. We have tried to make our shelter stronger so that it will last 3 months. We have a drainage system in place but I’m worried that the trees will fall over us,” said Nava*, a 16-year-old girl from Dolakha district.
“I’m very concerned of what will happen during the monsoons. We already have children coming to our facilities with diarrhoea and pneumonia due to the fact that they have been staying outside without access to clean water,” says Doctor Duga, operating in a makeshift hospital after his general hospital in Dolakha collapsed in the earthquake.
To date Plan has distributed more than 30,000 water kits, 42,150 tarpaulins and 32,553 food packs. We have also built 50 child-friendly spaces and 47 temporary learning spaces - safe spaces for children to resume their education and receive psychosocial support - that include adequate water, sanitation and hygiene facilities.