Children in need of shelter
By Sunjuli Kunwar Singh, Communications Specialist World Vision Nepal
“I want to go back to my home but it will not be the same as before, which frightens me. That is why I have not even gone to see the condition of my house,” says 13-year-old Sandhya.
Sandhya was singing and playing with her friends when the earthquake struck on Saturday. Her family had gone to their farm in the countryside, while she stayed back at home to take care of her visually impaired uncle.
Sandhya was just outside her home when the ground started shaking and she saw dust rising over her city. Within seconds she started seeing houses toppling down. Sandhya vividly remembers seeing a group of elderly people who had gathered nearby, crushed in the debris.
As soon as the earth stopped shaking Sandhya went inside her house to find her uncle and take him outside. Sandhya was worried about her family in the countryside, but thankfully her grandfather came rushing home to say that most of their family had found somewhere safe to stay.
However her brother, Sayan, was missing.
Nine-year-old Sayan had been playing with his friends in a nearby field when the earthquake struck. Afterwards he was very scared and went to search for his parents. Struggling with shock, he could not find them and was unable see through the thick dust in the air.
Sabi, their mother, worried she would never see her son again, but refused to give up hope and started searching. After three hours she found Sayan alive. He was in tears and covered in sweat.
Sandhya says, “I am afraid to go and see our house, or go back to school because the earthquake may come again. I miss TV, food and my own room to rest.”
Meanwhile Sayan misses his football and playing hide and seek with his friends.
Both of their eyes still show fear and uncertainty.
“We just need something good for our shelter now because I know we will not be able to stay in our house and the constant rain has made it difficult for us to stay warm. I don’t have the confidence to even go and see my house, imagining the destruction I have seen in front of my eyes. But there is so much disturbance here in the tent, with too many people inside it, that I have not been able to sleep well,” says Sandhya, solemnly.
There are almost 200 people camping outside with Sandhya and Sayan’s family – around 40 of them are children.
Parents are starting to search for shelter for themselves and their children. The large number of people in the communal tents makes it difficult to sleep or rest. The constant rain dampens the mud floor and water drips through the holes in the tents.
“I am worried about my children as my house is damaged very badly inside and they are in so much shock that I don’t know what to do. I am in so much shock myself thinking of whatever I experienced, so it’s very natural for them to feel like that. I don’t know how long we will stay here but once people start moving back to their homes or other places I will also have to move. But how, I don’t know,” Sabi worries.
Shelter is one of the most needed items for the earthquake survivors as their houses have collapsed and the ongoing tremors have made them afraid to go back to their homes. It is estimated that the earthquake has left over one million Nepalis homeless. World Vision has distributed supplies, including 1,000 tarps and 600 blankets in Bhaktapur, one of the worst hit areas in the quake. Hundreds of tarps have also been distributed in villages close to the epicentre, and we have dispatched a shipment of 5,000 more.