The UN has warned that Nepal’s children, already hit by the devastating earthquakes, are facing a new humanitarian crisis as the country reels under political strife and blockade in the Terai region bordering India, severely impacting their health.
United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Anthony Lake issued a statement on Saturday and warned that natural devastation following the earthquake and political conflict are compounding the misery for Nepal’s children.
"First, there was a devastating act of nature the earthquakes that took and damaged so many lives. Now, political differences among human beings are dealing new blows to the children of Nepal," said Lake, who was in Nepal on a two-day trip.
"The declining stocks of gas, food and medicines, together with the closure of schools due to political strife in the Terai plains and shortages of fuel throughout the country, are not only inflicting damage to the lives of the children now they threaten the future of the country itself," he added.
Warning that shortage of fuel, food and medicines could severely impact the capacity to deal with diseases like pneumonia, Lake said that the misery would be more intense in winter, which is just weeks away.
Nepal is facing acute shortage of essential goods as Madhesi groups have enforced over a month-long blockade of all border crossings in the Terai region with India, demanding proportional representation in the new constitution.
Lake also expressed concern about children being out of the school.
"When the doors of the schools are closed on children, they close also to their dreams and ambitions. And thus to the futures of their families, their communities and their nation," Lake was quoted as saying by the Kathmandu Post.
According to the UNICEF, more than 1.5 million children are out of school in the Tarai region now.