© UNICEF/NYHQ2009-0900/Sokol

A girl from the Dalit community stands outside as night falls in Mugu District. High food prices, seasonal flooding and ongoing insecurity are affecting the nutritional and educational status of children, nearly half of whom are malnourished.

Critical Issues for Children and Women

Approximately 3 million people – including 1 million children – are estimated to be directly affected by Nepal’s increasingly volatile security environment, unusually severe flooding and recent wave of diarrhoea epidemics. Thousands of children are at risk of being recruited or re-recruited into newly emerging armed groups. Moreover, malnutrition, seasonal flooding, crop losses and the impact of the food, fuel and financial crises are affecting the nutritional status and education of children across the country. Already the health status of children is extremely precarious as nearly half of children under five in the country are estimated to be suffering from chronic malnutrition. During the monsoon season, contaminated water and poor hygiene and sanitation conditions result in deadly outbreaks of diarrhoea and cholera in at least one quarter of the country, while emergency-prone districts of the terai have some of the country’s highest HIV prevalence rates.

Planned Humanitarian Action for 2010

In 2010, with the Government of Nepal, United Nations agencies and international and national NGO partners, UNICEF will provide emergency relief in line with the Core Commitments for Children to ensure essential health and nutrition care and access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene, education and child protection for an estimated 3 million people – including 1 million children – in 30 districts, or roughly half the country. UNICEF will also lead the Nutrition, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene and Education Clusters and the Child Protection Sub-Cluster, and co-chair the Emergency Health and Nutrition Working Group to plan for emergency preparedness and response in relation to flooding, earthquakes and civil unrest. As an immediate measure, UNICEF will pre-position supply items in order to facilitate a rapid response to critical needs in emergencies. Following are the expected results of UNICEF emergency interventions:

Health and Nutrition: In collaboration with World Health Organization and other cluster partners, UNICEF will support routine immunization campaigns. The nutrition situation in the most food-insecure districts will be monitored through surveillance and anthropometric surveys. Up to 3.7 million children under five will receive vitamin A supplementation and de-worming tablets while community-based management of malnutrition will be expanded to reach a further 6,000 children suffering from acute malnutrition. The capacity of health workers to provide infant and young child feeding support will also be enhanced.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH): UNICEF will strengthen preparedness and response capacity in 20 flood-prone districts and 25 districts prone to acute gastroenteritis through the identification of evacuation sites and installation of hand-pumps and latrines in preparation for occupation by internally displaced people. Water systems damaged by floods will be rehabilitated and relief items for hygiene, sanitation and water purification pre-positioned.

Education: Working with the Ministry of Education and Save the Children, UNICEF will concentrate its efforts on providing access to education for 50,000 conflict-affected children and on strengthening governance in 300 schools designated as ‘zones of peace’. Education partners will also be trained in education in emergencies in 20 vulnerable districts. Evidence-based data and information on the impact of the food, fuel and financial crises on education provision in Nepal will be collected and used to inform policy discussions.

Child Protection: The UNICEF-led Child Protection Sub-Cluster will improve national capacity to monitor, document and report violations of child rights and to prevent recruitment of children into armed forces or armed groups. Community-based reintegration services and psychosocial support will be provided as needed. Mine risk education will continue to be implemented with partners. Child protection kits will also be pre-positioned.

HIV/AIDS: UNICEF will not only strengthen care and support for women and children affected by HIV/AIDS, but will also seek to reduce the spread of HIV during emergencies through the distribution of information on HIV prevention.

Summary of UNICEF Emergency Needs to fulfil
Core Commitments for Children for 2010
Sector US$
Health 350,000
Nutrition 2,040,000
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) 3,000,000
Education 500,000
Child Protection 1,000,000
HIV/AIDS 300,000
Total 7,190,000