My wife was at our home, preparing lunch with our boys. When I saw the houses collapsing in the village, I ran as fast as I could through the debris, and back to my family. As I ran, the ground was shaking and I kept falling down. For those five minutes between the earthquake and reaching home, I still had hope. That hope was taken away when I pulled the bodies of my two sons from the rubble.
Women continue to be among the most affected by the worst natural disaster to hit Nepal in 81 years. Women have lost their homes, families and livelihoods, and have received little support from the Nepali government. Intersecting inequalities meant that women faced additional barriers and were less able to access the emergency relief provided. Single women in particular are still struggling to access the support they need, fighting barriers and social stigma in order to gain equal rights.
So what does dignity look like to female earthquake survivors? It means being able to maintain personal hygiene through sanitary pads, clean clothes, soap, toothpaste, flashlights and other essentials provided to women and girls via UNFPA's trademark Dignity Kits, about 560,000 thousand of which were distributed in the first few months following the quake...
For those of us working in health care, caring for those in need transcends issues of nationality and practicality: the migrant crisis is far from the first time nurses have needed to respond to a global health issue. During conflict, natural disasters and global epidemics - nurses are there. And what the photos and the footage can't possibly demonstrate is the unimaginable acts of violence and torture, the terrible living conditions, poverty and total collapse of health care infrastructure that so many are fleeing from.
Here comes one last opportunity: don't squander it. Our own civil rights leaders are in prison. If President Obama mentions no one else, let him raise the case of Zainab Al-Khawaja, or the Saudi youth Ali Al-Nimr who faces crucifixion, and hold them up as high as Rosa Parks. Ordinary acts face extraordinary repression in the Gulf, but there remains a chance to change that.
Africa is always a loser in this global gluttony. Last year, an esteemed report released by the African Union's High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows, revealed that an estimated $60.3 billion was illicitly channelled out of the continent between 2003 and 2012, roughly one a half times the total donated in overseas aid during the same period.
We have seen how thousands of Nepalese girls, forced onto the streets after the Nepal earthquake, have been trafficked into India and even sold into the United Kingdom. Gross abuses, including rape, have been reported in Iraq. We have heard, at first hand, how Syrian refugee girls as young as eight and nine have been forced into working for exploitative employers when they should be at school. And the plight of the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram from their school two years ago in Nigeria's Borno province continues to haunt us.
The complexities of this crisis go beyond the very real human need I saw playing out in Fedeto. Were it faced with this drought alone, the Government of Ethiopia would have a heady, but manageable task. Sadly, all indications of the climate change trajectory suggest that this is not an isolated case of drought, but rather the paradigm for what is yet to come.
Since the time when the girls were taken from their school by armed militiamen, the impact of the conflict on children has grown dramatically. Over the past year, 44 children have been used as suicide bombers. In fact, the number of children used in suicide attacks has increased ten-fold over the last year and over 75% of the children involved in the attacks are girls. Nearly one out of every five suicide bombers is a child.
Today, on the International Day for Street Children, we in Europe must acknowledge that we have a problem - a known unknown - of a rising number of young and vulnerable people who need protection. The vast majority of Europeans see street children as a faraway problem that they hear about on the news or witness for themselves on holidays to nations in the developing world. The EU's political impotence in the face of the migration emergency means that this is no longer the case: thousands of street children are now sleeping rough on doorsteps from Athens to Paris.
Imagine being too scared to ask for a bathroom break at work. Or working in 38 degree heat without safe drinking water. Or being locked in, forced to live in fear of fires or other accidents. On a recent trip to Myanmar, I spoke to Su Su Hlaing, a young woman for whom this was a daily reality. Su Su Hlaing told me that when she was young, she dreamt of being a teacher. But when the recent economic problems started, she had to find a job in the garment factories to support her family. I met her in their dormitory room where she lives and sleeps in what can only be described as slum-like conditions.
Perceptions and symbols matter. The UK's ability to hold itself out as the world's leading soft power is undermined when we do not take a public stand in support of our values. Those who are suffering from, or perpetrating, human rights abuses must hear us voicing our values clearly. So when one of the most senior civil servants tells a parliamentary committee that human rights is "not one of our top priorities", alarm bells go off.
While positive strides have been made in women's rights and gender equality in recent years, women and girls around the world are still married as children, denied access to education and political power, and trapped in conflicts where rape is used as a weapon of war. If we want to change this, we need to support the activists and women's rights organisations calling for change.
Here we are watching rich countries debating yet again whether Syrian refugees should be allowed in or not, whether they pose a security threat or are linked to terrorist groups. At Oxfam, we've been calling for the resettlement of 10 per cent of the most vulnerable five million registered Syrian refugees...