When more than one million children in Nepal needed help, UNICEF supporters were there. Watch UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Orlando Bloom reflect on what we’ve achieved.

Twelve months ago, the earth beneath Nepal shook violently – so violently that it tore through the lives of millions of people living in the central and eastern parts of the country.

The earthquakes in April and May 2015 took the lives of nearly 9,000 people, a third of whom were children. The earthquakes injured thousands; robbed the livelihoods of many more; and turned to rubble a huge number of homes, health posts and schools that faced the brunt of the quakes.

When millions in Nepal needed help, the global community acted. Fast.

UNICEF’s response began on day one. We were ready for emergencies with life-saving supplies of clean water, sanitation and shelter for families who lost their homes. The incredible response to UNICEF’s global appeal for emergency funds meant we could set up temporary hospitals, stop the spread of deadly diseases and keep children safe from exploitation.

All of this was thanks to the kindness of our donors. Because they cared, UNICEF could provide long-term health care, get kids back to school and give them the psychosocial support they needed to cope and recover from the worst natural disaster to hit Nepal in decades.

Take a look at what we’ve achieved together over the last year.

Water and sanitation

After the earthquake hit, not only were supplies of water low - existing infrastructure had been damaged. UNICEF helped by reaching 1.3 million people with emergency and longer-term water supplies.

UNICEF also worked to prevent the spread of illnesses and diseases like diarrhoea and cholera which can so easily spread among children and vulnerable groups after natural disasters. We gave 420,000 people access to sanitation facilities and delivered hygiene kits and information to almost 900,000.

Child safety and protection

Emergencies often put children at risk of being separated from their families for trafficking, unlawful adoption and exploitation. In the aftermath of the earthquakes, UNICEF helped child welfare authorities prevent family separation and stop children being placed in ‘orphanages’ unnecessarily.
Children play in the Barpak village, located in the epicentre of the impact of the Nepal earthquake. ©UNICEF/UN017152/Shrestha

As a result, almost 40,000 unaccompanied, separated and vulnerable children were identified and 13,300 were provided with emergency support.

Food and nutrition

Even before the earthquakes hit, close to four in ten children in Nepal suffered from chronic malnutrition.

UNICEF, alongside the Nepalese Government and other partners, reached more than 90 per cent of targeted children under five and pregnant women in the most affected districts with a ‘Child Nutrition Week’ campaign. Mothers and children were given health assessments, nutrition supplies and counselling on feeding in tough circumstances.


When everything falls apart in a disaster, the classroom is a safe and stable environment where children can move on with the support of friends and teachers. But the Nepal earthquakes destroyed more than 35,000 classrooms, leaving almost one million children out of school.

More than a month after the first earthquake struck, children in the earthquake-affected districts could go back to school. UNICEF helped to establish 1,793 temporary learning centres and gave education supplies to 881,000 children.

Health and medicine

To prevent a measles outbreak in informal camps, UNICEF supported an emergency immunisation campaign targeting almost half a million children under the age of 5 years.
UNICEF’s vaccines had to cross rough terrain for a measles, rubella and polio vaccination campaign in the Gorkha District.  © UNICEF/UNI199133/Panday

In the months that followed, UNICEF also supported a nationwide polio immunisation campaign that reached 3.6 million under-five children to keep the disease out of the country.

Maternal health

With nearly 70 per cent of birthing centres damaged or destroyed in the most affected districts, women and newborn babies needed safe spaces to stay. UNICEF established 22 shelter homes for more than 11,000 pregnant women, lactating mothers and their children to receive proper care before and after delivery.
Grandmother Chinmaya Shrestha warms the feet of her three day-old grandson at a UNICEF-supported health centre in Gorkha. The centre, built at the epicentre of the impact of the earthquake, provides women and children with food, sanitation facilities, counselling services and medical attention. © UNICEF/UN016487/Shrestha

When winter set in, these shelter homes were further outfitted to protect families from the cold and blankets were distributed to keep children and women warm.

Emergencies and beyond

One year on, recovery has finally started to move forward. But there is still much to be done to bring normalcy to the lives of children and their families living in these shaken hills.

Many are still living and going to school in tents and makeshift shelters. With 80 per cent of health facilities and much of the country’s water and sanitation infrastructure destroyed in the quake, rebuilding will take years.

The task ahead is massive. Now, more than ever, UNICEF will focus on reducing risks and being prepared for disasters whenever and wherever they strike.

We’ve been in Nepal for more than 40 years, and with the ongoing generosity of our supporters, we’ll be there for children as long as we’re needed.

Stand by children in crisis

It's possible to make a lifechanging impact for children every month. UNICEF Australia has an amazing group of supporters called Global Parents who make an ongoing pledge to protect and support children through their first 1,000 days of life.

By signing up with a monthly gift, our Global Parents make a beautiful commitment: that wherever a child is born and whatever comes their way, we'll give them a life, a chance, a choice.