According to UNICEF, nearly a million children in Nepal will not be able to return to school in the wake of last month's earthquake unless urgent action is taken to provide learning spaces and repair classrooms that have been destroyed. Almost 24,000 classrooms have collapsed and many more suffering damages in the aftershocks.
The scale of the education crisis is expected to grow over the coming days and weeks as additional information flows in from remote areas, said Unicef, but "schools are due to reopen on May 15″. Almost one million children who were enrolled in school before the earthquake could now find they have no school building to return to, Xinhua news agency quoted Tomoo Hozumi, Unicef's representative in Nepal, as saying.
UNICEF is attempting to make arrangements for temporary classrooms for the children. At present, all the schools in Nepal have been shut and those standing are being used as living shelters. The charity also said that there is a need to set up alternate spaces not just for education, but for safety as well. About 30 child friendly spaces has been set up in Kathmandu.
Alongside education, children in Nepal are being vaccinated against Measles due to the lack of sanitation. Prior to the earthquake, about 90 percent of the children were vaccinated against measles. The measles vaccines will be given as part of a vaccination program in cooperation with the Nepalese Ministry of Health and Population and the World Health Organization (WHO). The goal is to protect against measles outbreaks in the informal camps that are inhabited by the quake's victims.
"Unless we act now, there is a real risk of it re-emerging as a major threat for children, a setback for all of our collective efforts," Tomoo Hozumi, said in a statement on Monday.
The UNICEF representative said that the organization is also doing everything they can to provide clean water and sanitation to those suffering the worst in Nepal.