Over three million children under the age of 5 in Nepal are at risk of death or disease during the harsh winter months due to a severe shortage of fuel, food, medicines and vaccines, warns the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Issuing a press statement, the UN agency observed, “The government’s regional medical stores have already run out of BCG vaccines against tuberculosis. Stocks of other vaccines and antibiotics are critically low.”
In the statement, UNICEF’s Executive Director Anthony Lake is quoted as saying, “The risks of hypothermia and malnutrition, and the shortfall in life-saving medicines and vaccines, could be a potentially deadly combination for children this winter,”
Meanwhile, Lake stated that children affected from the major earthquakes of April and May this year would be the worst hit in the latest disaster.
More than 200,000 families affected by the tremors are still living in temporary shelters, at an altitude above 1,500 metres where weather conditions will be harshest this winter, informed UNICEF.
On the other hand, the UN agency also warned against increasing use of firewood as an alternative to cooking fuel as it may increase indoor pollution and pneumonia risks.