Millions of children in Nepal at risk this winter due to shortage of essential supplies
Dec 1, Kathmandu: Due to severe shortages of fuel, food, medicines and vaccines, more than three million children under the age of 5 are at risk of death or disease during the harsh winter months in Nepal, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said.
“The plight that children and their families are facing in the country has been worsening by the day and will deteriorate further in the winter months,” UNICEF Regional Director of UNICEF for South Asia, Karin Hulshof said in a news release.
Over the past 10 weeks, vital imports of essential commodities have been severely restricted at Nepal’s southern border due to unrest over the country’s new constitution.
According to UNICEF, the Government’s regional medical stores have already run out of BCG vaccines against tuberculosis and stocks of other vaccines and antibiotics are critically low.
Nepal, still recovering from two major earthquakes in April and May, has over 200,000 families affected by the temblors still living in temporary shelters, at an altitude above 1,500 metres where weather conditions will be harshest this winter, explained UNICEF, adding that children could be the most affected.
UNICEF said that growing fears that the rising dependence on firewood because of the fuel crisis is increasing indoor pollution, which in turn could lead to a spike in cases of pneumonia, as over 800,000 children under five suffer from the condition and around 5,000 children have already died in the last year.
Additionally, the 125,000 new-borns expected in Nepal in the next two months are also at particular risk, the agency warned.
The Oslo Times