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Nepal quake six months on: 240,000 children being schooled in classrooms unfit for freezing winter conditions

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Six months since the Nepal earthquake, almost a quarter million children are being schooled in classrooms unfit for freezing winter temperatures, warns Save the Children.

The child rights agency can also reveal that one million children have been left without permanent classrooms and another 171,400 children continue to require support to return to learning.

The immediate concern this winter is for children whose education may suffer because they have to endure plummeting sub-zero temperatures in temporary learning centres.

Almost 3,000 temporary learning centres were built quickly after the earthquake in April so that children could continue their education. With winter approaching Save the Children says funding is urgently needed to upgrade the temporary classrooms to protect children from harsh winter weather.

Save the Children’s Country Director for Nepal Delailah Borja explains, “We know how important education is to children affected by disaster. Therefore aid agencies quickly built temporary classrooms for thousands of school-aged children in Nepal. However, the slow progress in construction of permanent schools together with the onset of winter, mean that we need to act now to insulate and winterize classrooms. Winterization is imperative to ensure children remain in school and are protected from the weather while at school. Funding is urgently needed for this purpose."

For families in the mountainous and remote regions of Nepal, there is still an urgent requirement for basic food and shelter relief, says Save the Children. There is also a risk of families falling into debt because of the cost of construction of temporary shelters, pushing them into extreme poverty.

Save the Children stressed that urgent action is required to address shelter needs, for the community in general but in particular for those at greatest risk.

“Significant investment is needed to increase the local supply of trained technicians and construction workers to work with communities on safe and resilient construction techniques,” said Ms Borja.

“Households at high altitudes, and those people who have been forced to leave their homes and live in camps, are particularly at risk. Such high risk households must be provided with every assistance to ensure that they have adequate shelter for the winter, without needing to take on debts which they cannot possibly repay,” added Ms Borja.