A powerful earthquake struck west of the Nepali capital Kathmandu on Saturday, 25 April, causing extensive damage at the epicentre and the collapse of a number of buildings in the capital. Initial reports are that hundreds of people have been confirmed dead and many more injured. SOS Children’s Villages is assessing the situation and plans to provide support to affected children as part of the global humanitarian response.
“Our thoughts are with the many children and adults affected by this tragedy, as the death toll is rising by the hour,” said SOS Children’s Villages International CEO Richard Pichler.
Initial reports from the National Director of SOS Nepal indicate that no SOS children, mothers or staff have been harmed, and that damage to SOS infrastructure has been minimal.
Shree Shankar Pradhananga, National Director of SOS Children’s Villages Nepal, said:
“In Kathmandu valley and the surrounding villages, the impact of earthquake is very high. The Nepalese Government has already requested that international Governments extend help for the rescue and needed emergency help. Since the heavily affected area is Kathmandu Valley, we will assess the situation of the earthquake victim children and extend our services and support as soon as possible through our SOS Programme locations in Kathmandu Valley.”
SOS Children’s Villages has been working in Nepal since 1972 and has programmes in 10 locations throughout Nepal, with about 10,000 children and adults benefitting from our family strengthening programmes, and more than 1,500 children and young people in our direct care. Seven of the SOS Children’s Villages are within 50km of the area hardest hit by the earthquake.
Richard Pichler, CEO of SOS Children’s Villages International said:
“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.
“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.”
Since 1988, SOS Children’s Villages has conducted 125 emergency response programmes in 60 countries. The response always is to ensure children receive immediate protection and basic care in a safe and loving environment. Often, in the early days of an emergency, the priority is to reunite children with their families.