Nepal Earthquake: 1-Year Later, An Urgent Need to Rebuild and Repair Schools – Plan International

Report
from Plan International
Published on 20 Apr 2016

KATHMANDU, NEPAL –One year after a devastating earthquake hit Nepal, child rights and humanitarian development organisation Plan International is reminding the international community that the construction and repair of thousands of damaged and destroyed classrooms is crucial to Nepal’s recovery.

“Over the past year Plan International has had a vital, lasting impact through providing life-saving aid to hundreds of thousands of people in Nepal, but rebuilding Nepal has only just begun. Building schools and repairing the thousands of classrooms that were destroyed is central to children’s development, the health of their communities, and Nepal’s ability to move forward,” said Mattias Bryneson, Country Director for Plan International Nepal.

Plan International is planning to build 20 new schools and repair 1,600 additional classrooms. These facilities will be “safe schools,” built with disaster-resistant construction and reinforced with emergency preparedness training for students and teachers.

However, the government of Nepal has declared a moratorium on construction in Nepal pending the development of new national standards for building and construction, including schools and houses. This is delaying the recovery even further.

“We support the need to develop, and enforce, construction standards to ensure this scale of destruction does not happen again, but we nonetheless need to underscore the urgency in rebuilding schools and getting children back into safe, permanent classrooms,” said Bryneson.

Plan International has built 310 temporary schools benefitting 21,021 children in communities where schools have been destroyed, so that children can continue their education in a safe environment. Schools are central to child protection. Not only are schools meant to be a safe environment where parents know that their children are secure during the day, but also children who aren’t in school are at increased risk of exploitation, trafficking, and child marriage.

“Plan International is ready to start construction on these new safe schools. We just need the go-ahead. A year is too long for children to be spending in temporary classrooms made of bamboo and tarpaulins,” said Bryneson.

“Tens of thousands of children have already spent a winter in temporary classrooms and if permanent facilities are not built soon, children will have to spend the coming monsoon season, and possibly even a second winter, in these same basic, weathered structures.” added Bryneson. “We don’t want that to happen”.

More than 35,000 classrooms were destroyed in the Nepal earthquakes (a second major earthquake struck 3 weeks later on May 12), and more than 1 million children did not have a school to return to. All told, an estimated 8,964 people were killed and 21,952 injured in the earthquake. 605,000 homes were destroyed and hundreds of thousands more badly damaged.

Plan International has been at the forefront of the emergency response in Nepal, helping to deliver emergency aid to communities devastated by twin 7.8 and 7.2 magnitude earthquake.

Plan International has been able to directly help 287,847 individuals in the year since the earthquake, including 117,230 children and has supported children and their families in Nepal through the provision of emergency shelter supplies, food and water and immediate access to temporary classrooms and dedicated child protection facilities. Plan International is committed to Nepal for the long term. Over the next two years, our aid will support 325,000 more people in need. Because women and girls have suffered disproportionately in natural disasters, Plan International is working to ensure urgent protections and to tackle systematic issues over the long-term. Plan International’s Earthquake Recovery Strategy priorities tackling gender inequality and working with communities to transform the gender disparity that predominates in much of Nepal.

ENDS

Senior representatives from Plan International are available for interviews regarding the current state of reconstruction efforts.

Video, photos, infographics are available to the media from Plan International at no cost. Resources must be credited to Plan International. All are available for media use at: mediabank.plan-international.org/?c=26608&k=e6dc85b68e

For further details and interview requests, please contact:
In Kathmandu, Nepal:
Mike Bruce, Regional Communications Manager
Email: Mike.Bruce@plan-international.org
+66 (0)81 8219770 | Skype: mikegbruce

In Bangkok, Thailand (Regional office:
Jessica Lomelin, Regional Communications Specialist
Email: Jessica.Lomelin@plan-international.org
Mobile: +66 96-865-7649 | Skype: jessicanicole621

In London, UK:
Matt Crook, Press Officer
Email: Matt.Crook@plan-international.org
Mobile: +44 (0) 759 713 9281

Backgrounder

Plan International Nepal Earthquake Emergency Response April 2016

Plan International in Nepal

Plan International has worked in Nepal since 1978, helping children access their rights to health, education, economic security and protection. Plan International works in 42 districts.

Role in the Response

Plan International Nepal has raised €25.5 million to help 287,847 individuals (to date)– including 117,230 children - impacted by the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal. Plan International is working in 4 priority districts, Dolakha, Sindhupalchowk, Makwanpur and Sindhuli.

Within a day of the earthquake, Plan International began distributing prepositioned emergency shelter material and food packs to thousands of earthquake-affected families across the 14 priority districts.

Plan International’s emergency response focused on 6 key areas: education; child protection; water, sanitation and hygiene; shelter; health; and food security/livelihoods/income generation. As a child-focused organization, Plan International supported children throughout the emergency relief phase, helping to ensure that we met their urgent needs, including access to education and child protection services.

In the last year, Plan International has supported communities in the following ways:

  • 21,000 children are studying in 310 temporary schools built by Plan International

  • 44,968 children received emotional and psychological support through protection services

  • 26,793 parents and caregivers received psychological first aid training

  • 52,767 households received emergency shelter materials, 10,089 households received metal sheeting for roofing

  • 479 masons and carpenters trained on earthquake-resistant construction techniques supporting 11,000 households to ‘build back better’.

  • 43,672 families received safe drinking water kits

  • 71,300 women and girls benefitted from menstrual hygiene kits and orientation

  • 10,435 families benefitted from short-term employment opportunities

Children, Education and Child Protection

The earthquakes devastated the education system in Nepal, leaving over 1 million children without access to school, and creating a tremendous need for immediate, temporary schooling for children in Nepal. Plan International has built 310 temporary learning centers, enabling 21,000 children to resume their education immediately after the April earthquake.

Schools are central to child protection. Schools provide a safe environment where parents can trust that their children are secure. Children who aren’t in school are at increased risk of exploitation, trafficking, and child marriage.

44,968 children have benefitted from child friendly spaces and mobile outreach missions, receiving psychological care and counselling. We have focused on providing community-based facilities for children to heal, learn and play. We are working with the government to help ensure children in post-earthquake affected areas do not fall prey to traffickers, experience violence or are separated from their families.

Women

Plan International is creating ‘safe spaces’ for adolescent girls, where they will learn about sexual and reproductive health, life skills and receive vocational training. Women are also heavily involved in our cash-for-work programme and are receiving shelter materials and building materials on a priority basis.

Recovery Strategy –moving forward

For the next two years, Plan International will focus on child protection, education, shelter, water and sanitation, livelihoods/income generation and disaster risk reduction. These areas are based on the priorities outlined in the Government’s post-disaster needs assessment, by children and their families, as well as centrally assessed needs. Plan International plans to reach 325,000 individuals (65,000 households) in Dolakha, Sinduplachowk, Sindhuli, and Makwanpur districts.

Examples of projects include:

  • Building 20 new, disability-inclusive and disaster-resistant schools

  • Repairing 1,600 damaged classrooms

  • Repair and restore water systems in 65 communities

  • Provide psychological and emotional support, rights-focused education and sexual reproductive health education to children and girls

  • Cash grants and training on improved agricultural practices

**figures current to 15 March, 2016*

About Plan International:

Plan International is an independent child rights organisation committed to enabling vulnerable and marginalised children to be free of poverty. By actively connecting committed people with powerful ideas, we work together to make positive, deep-rooted and lasting changes in children’s and young people’s lives. For over 75 years, we have supported girls and boys and their communities around the world to gain the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to claim their rights, free themselves from poverty and live positive fulfilling lives.