• 2,277 children died and 1,268 children injured in the quakes in 14 most affected districts
• 49 children from Dhading and two from Kavre were rescued after the quakes
• 48 from children Dhading and two from Kavre were reunited with their families
• 82 children lost their both parents while 427 others lost one of their parents in the quakes
Source: UNICEF/ CCWB
LALITPUR: Government officials on Wednesday warned of legal action against anyone involved in relocating children to other places in the aftermath of the disaster.
Speaking at a media briefing programme on ‘Separated, unaccompanied and other vulnerable children during disaster’, organised jointly by the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, Central Child Welfare Board and UNICEF, the officials said no one will be spared if found guilty of relocating children by tempting them of education opportunity and better life.
“If any individual or an organisation tries to relocate children from one place to another, separating them from their family without getting permission from the government, they will be brought to book,” said Dilli Ram Rimal, Chairperson, CCWB. Fearing risk of child trafficking, child labour and child abuses in the aftermath of the earthquakes, the CCWB had earlier issued a notice stating that no one will be allowed to relocate children from one district to another without prior permission from District Child Welfare Board.
He said that currently many orphanages and individuals were trying to relocate children from the earthquake worst-hit districts by promising parents and children of good food, education, shelter and other facilities, but their hidden intention could be different.
The government has also halted registration of new children’s homes and inter-country child adoption until further notice.
According to Tarak Dhital, Executive Director, CCWB, a total of 82 children lost their both parents while 427 others lost one of the parents in the quakes. “There are already 600 children’s homes registered in the country and this is enough to adjust the children orphaned by the quakes,” he said.
He emphasised on the need to reintegrate the children orphaned by the quakes with their community and relatives, instead of shifting them to a new orphanage.
“The children are already traumatised by the quakes and loss of their parents. If they are taken to an unknown place with strangers in such situation, the level of trauma would only increase. Therefore, family reunion or support to family to nurture such children will be more fruitful,” he said, adding, “Keeping children in the orphanages should be the last option.”
He stated that children were more vulnerable to trafficking due to the disaster, poverty and illiteracy, prompting the CCWB to ban the relocation of children without permission from DCWB.
UNICEF Nepal Representative Tamoo Hozumi warned that there has been a substantial increase in the cases of violence of women and children immediately after disaster. “There is surge in the cases of children and women trafficking due to various reasons such as poverty, lack of resources, ignorance and others that are allowing traffickers to identify the most vulnerable children and women for trafficking and other purposes,” he said.