One week after the Nepal earthquake
By Jean-Jacques Simon, UNICEF
The earthquake struck at the heart of the Nepalese people and those who live among them, like me and my family. There are still many injured in hospitals and health centres in Kathmandu and the regions surrounding the epicenter of the quake. And many people who live in the districts around the epicentre – often very hard to access – require emergency assistance. The priority is to help those who are most in need, as quickly as possible. We have to deliver drinking water, food, medicine, tents, hygiene kits, and eventually the material that will be used for giving lessons in places where the schools have been destroyed.
My neighbourhood in Kathmandu
This morning, I walked around Dhapasi, the district of Kathmandu where we have lived for nearly two years. Although the ground shook again at dawn and the situation remains uncertain – if not to say worrying – what I saw this morning, walking through my neighbourhood, is people rebuilding. Several members of one family were trying to remove furniture from what had been a three-story house. Nearby, masons were already repairing the wall of a children's recreation centre.
Resilience and determination
In Dhapasi, the children I spoke to this morning are all looking to the future, although some of them are living in tents because their homes have been destroyed. Two children near the outer edge of my neighbourhood – which marks the border between the urban and the rural worlds – were tending their two water buffalo that had come to eat the fresh plateau grass. Whatever the social environment of the children of Dhapasi, most of them talk about getting back to school with great joy.
The earthquake has taken a toll on the children of Kathmandu and the affected areas. It is important for them to resume their schooling because it is part of a return to normal life where they can try to put the tragedy in the past and look to the future – a future that they are building and imagining in their own way. As my three-year-old daughter said last night en route to the airport, "Daddy, it's lucky the earthquake didn't break the moon, because it's so pretty."