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Plan International Nepal: One Year Later, an Urgent Need to Rebuild and Repair Schools

KATHMANDU - One year after a devastating earthquake hit Nepal, Plan International is reminding the international community that the construction and repair of thousands of damaged and destroyed classrooms is crucial to Nepal’s recovery.

“Over the past year Plan International has had a vital, lasting impact through providing life-saving aid to hundreds of thousands of people in Nepal, but rebuilding Nepal has only just begun. Building schools and repairing the thousands of classrooms that were destroyed is central to children’s development, the health of their communities, and Nepal’s ability to move forward,” said Mattias Bryneson, Country Director for Plan International Nepal.

Plan International is planning to build 20 new schools and repair 1,600 additional classrooms. These facilities will be “safe schools,” built with disaster-resistant construction and reinforced with emergency preparedness training for students and teachers.

However, the government of Nepal has declared a moratorium on construction in Nepal pending the development of new national standards for building and construction, including schools and houses. This is delaying the recovery even further.

“We support the need to develop, and enforce, construction standards to ensure this scale of destruction does not happen again, but we nonetheless need to underscore the urgency in rebuilding schools and getting children back into safe, permanent classrooms,” said Bryneson.

Plan International has built 310 temporary schools benefitting 21,021 children in communities where schools have been destroyed, so that children can continue their education in a safe environment. Schools are central to child protection. Not only are schools meant to be a safe environment where parents know that their children are secure during the day, but also children who aren’t in school are at increased risk of exploitation, trafficking, and child marriage.

“Plan International is ready to start construction on these new safe schools. We just need the go-ahead. A year is too long for children to be spending in temporary classrooms made of bamboo and tarpaulins,” said Bryneson. “Tens of thousands of children have already spent a winter in temporary classrooms and if permanent facilities are not built soon, children will have to spend the coming monsoon season, and possibly even a second winter, in these same basic, weathered structures. We don’t want that to happen.”

More than 35,000 classrooms were destroyed in the Nepal earthquakes (a second major earthquake struck 3 weeks later on May 12th), and more than 1 million children did not have a school to return to. All told, an estimated 8,964 people were killed and 21,952 injured in the earthquake; 605,000 homes were destroyed and hundreds of thousands more badly damaged.

Plan International has been at the forefront of the emergency response in Nepal, helping to deliver emergency aid to communities devastated by twin 7.8 and 7.2 magnitude earthquakes.

Plan has directly helped 287,847 individuals in the year since the earthquake, including 117,230 children and has supported children and their families in Nepal through the provision of emergency shelter supplies, food and water, and immediate access to temporary classrooms and dedicated child protection facilities.

Plan International is committed to Nepal for the long term. Over the next two years, our aid will support 325,000 more people in need. Because women and girls suffer disproportionately in natural disasters, Plan International is working to ensure urgent protections and to tackle systematic issues over the long-term. Plan International’s Earthquake Recovery Strategy prioritizes tackling gender inequality and working with communities to transform the gender disparity that predominates in much of Nepal.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Senior representatives from Plan International are available for interviews regarding the current state of reconstruction efforts and on going development needs.

Video, photos, and infographics are available to the media from Plan International at no cost. Resources must be credited to Plan International. All are available for media use at: http://mediabank.plan-international.org/?c=26608&k=e6dc85b68e

About Plan International Nepal

Plan International has worked in Nepal since 1978, helping poor children to access their rights to health, education, economic security, and protection. In the hundreds of communities in which we work, there are difficulties accessing adequate health care and sanitation. Communities are often impoverished, which can leave them vulnerable. Plan International Nepal has active programming and works with children and communities throughout earthquake-affected areas, and has field office in Makwanpur and Balung, close to the epicenter.

About Plan International USA

Plan International USA, part of the Plan International Federation, is a child-centered development organization that believes in the promise and potential of children. For more than 75 years in over 50 developing countries, Plan has been breaking the cycle of child poverty. Everything Plan does – from strengthening health care systems to improving the quality of education, to advocating for increased protection and beyond – is built with, and owned by, the community. The result is a development approach designed to improve the lives of the youngest members of the community for the longest period of time. For more information, please visit http://www.PlanUSA.org.

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