THE BLOG

Help Rebuild Nepal and Keep the Children Safe From Immediate Danger

05/08/2015 19:22 BST | Updated 05/08/2016 10:59 BST

I have been struck by the news this week of the terrible flooding caused by the monsoons in south Asia. Estimates show that hundreds of thousands of people have been affected and we know that the threat of monsoons to Nepal is also looming. The country is already weakened by the devastating earthquakes that hit three months ago.

We all remember the harrowing images in our newspapers and on our TV screens of people who had lost their homes, their livelihoods and their loved ones. It is thanks to charities like ActionAid, who were already on the ground and able to respond immediately, that hundreds of thousands of people received life-saving supplies and assistance. But now the cameras have gone so much more still needs to be done particularly as there is a new threat to the country - monsoon season.

Thousands of children who have been traumatised and whose homes have been destroyed are sleeping out in the open and are exposed to monsoon downpours and landslides. With nowhere to go for shelter and safety, their lives are in danger.

Children like seven-year-old Pranita whose home was damaged by the April earthquake. She and her family spent several weeks sleeping outside under plastic sheeting provided by one of ActionAid's partner organisations.

Her mother says, "After the quakes, Pranita used to scream in her sleep. She just wanted to stay by my side throughout the day."

The shop where Pranita's father worked has been closed since the earthquake. The small corner store run by her mother has also been shut down, as the building it's located within is structurally unsafe. The loss of income has been devastating to the family.

Though life is still exceedingly challenging for Pranita and her family, some things are gradually improving. Pranita's father told us she has been attending a temporary learning centre to get access to psychological support and bridge her education needs until she can go back to school full-time. Since she began attending the centre, her fear and depression following the earthquake has been subsiding each day.

It is estimated that over 1million children are left without access to safe permanent classrooms. The psychological impact of the disaster also continues to be felt by children and communities.

Five-year-old Isha's home collapsed in a village in the Rasuwa District of Nepal.

When the earthquake struck she was at a water tap with her mother, little brother and grandfather. She burst into tears when she saw her family's home crumble and spent the next six weeks sleeping underneath a plastic tarpaulin, exposed to the elements.

When the house collapsed, all of the family's belongings were trapped inside, most of them ruined. The thing that she misses most is her doll Angel.

Isha's school finally reopened and after missing playing with her friends and classmates she's very happy to now be making that one-hour round trip across steep and winding trails again.

She and her family are now living in a sturdy shelter of corrugated iron sheeting provided by Action Aid and its local partners. While outside under the plastic sheeting, Isha was plagued by nightmares of earthquakes and was too scared to sleep very much. Now she says that she feels much safer and can dream again without fear.

These children must be so scared. I find it so distressing to think of these children suffering any more. The thought of my children going through anything like this is terrifying.

ActionAid has worked in Nepal for over 30 years and has already helped communities to build 950 shelters to protect almost 5,000 people from the monsoon. Currently they are providing tool kits and giving technical support so that families can rebuild their homes. But more supplies are needed to help thousands more families who still need help. The more it rains the harder it is to reach rural areas, so the need continues to be an urgent one.

My family and I have been ActionAid supporters for many years and I know the difference they can make to children and their families.

Please join me in supporting ActionAid's appeal to make sure the children of Nepal have a home and a future. Donate what you can, now. Please text HAMMER to 70755 to donate £5, visit www.actionaid.org.uk/rebuildnepal or call 01460 238000.