World Vision opens first Child-friendly Space for Nepal earthquake survivors
KATHMANDU, Nepal, April 30, 2015 - As the needs in Nepal continue to grow, World Vision is working swiftly to overcome challenges in aid distribution. The agency is drawing on 60 years of experience to mount a response that includes food, water and sanitation, education, health and nutrition, non-food items, shelters and child protection – all critical as people begin to rebuild their lives.
World Vision will lead efforts to develop Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) – places where children can play, learn and try to regain some sense of their lives before the devastation. One CFS is up and running in Kathmandu and two additional CFS will open in Lalitpur tomorrow. In total, World Vision will be setting up 15 Child Friendly Spaces in three districts of Kathmandu Valley, Lamjung, Gorkha and Sindhuli so that children can have a safe place to play following the trauma of the quake. World Vision also plans to establish temporary learning centres alongside these Child Friendly Spaces.
World Vision's response is targeting an initial 100,000 people (20,000 families) in the worst-affected areas of Bhaktapur, Gorkha, Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Lamjung. Distributions of prepositioned emergency supplies - tents, blankets and other goods - began just a few hours after the earthquake struck. In the coming days, airlifts of relief items will arrive from other countries where World Vision has access to prepositioned stock, such as the United Arab Emirates, Australia, Malaysia and the United States.
The agency is also bringing relief supplies and staff from India, though road conditions are less than ideal and, in some cases, quite hazardous. Many of the worst hit communities In Nepal are in remote locations accessible only on foot or by helicopter.
As in other disasters, such as the Haiti earthquake in 2010, and in previous emergency responses in Nepal, World Vision is working closely with the government, the United Nations, and other aid agencies. Currently, the government of Nepal is leading the response and is coordinating with UN agencies that convene humanitarian organizations to help manage the programs.
"Our focus is children because they are among the most vulnerable during disaster and emergency situations. Even before the earthquake, the situation facing children in Nepal was grim. Consider that 23,000 children under the age of five die in Nepal each year; 40 per cent of them are stunted due to malnutrition and other health problems, and more than 30 per cent work in demanding or unsafe conditions." – Michael Messenger, incoming president of World Vision Canada, currently in Nepal.
"There are multiple challenges, which we are moving swiftly to overcome. Aid supplies are being transported by trucks along valley roads and will need to be hand-carried into the mountains, or people will have to come down from mountains to collect those supplies. Many farmers have access to crops, but have lost kitchen equipment, bedding and, in some cases, their homes. In villages, Nepalese families often store food on the bottom floors of their homes, so that food supply is now buried under rubble."– Michael Messenger, incoming president of World Vision Canada, currently in Nepal.
"World Vision has established a makeshift office in Kathmandu, since our regular office was severely damaged in the earthquake. We have logistics and supply chain experts to help direct aid towards people in remote villages. And we are bringing to Nepal some of our emergency relief experts, since most of our staff here are specialists in community development work, which is a very different discipline." – Michael Messenger, incoming president of World Vision Canada, currently in Nepal.
What Canadians can do:
Canadians wishing to support World Vision's emergency response in Nepal can text "AID" to 45678 to donate $20, or donate by online at worldvision.ca
, or by calling 1-866-595-5550.
World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. Visit our News Centre at worldvision.ca.
Note to Media: Michael Messenger is available for interviews with Canadian media via telephone from Nepal.