This Article is From May 18, 2015

Nepal Earthquake: Born Amidst Disaster, These Babies Are a Far Cry From a Normal Childhood

Supriya, whose parents are living in tents at a relief camp in Kathmandu, was born in a nearby hospital and discharged soon after.

Kathmandu: Supriya is sleeping serenely tucked in a red dupatta, lying in her grandmother's arms at the Tudikhel relief camp in Kathmandu. She is barely a few hours old, the white hospital tag still visible on her tiny hand.

Delivering a child at the relief camp was not possible, so the Army men took her mother to the nearby government hospital in the middle of the night. Supriya was born to Subhash and Sujata Basnat.

"It was a normal delivery, so they discharged us as there was no space at the hospital. She is still weak but we had to get her back here," says a somewhat worried Subhash, as he props up Sujata on his shoulder.

Sharing the tent with them is Manisha, who was barely a few days old when the first earthquake struck on April 25. Her father, Neal Prasad, describes how hard it was for them to escape with such a young life. "I took her in my arms and ran outside. I almost broke my leg as I fell down. But luckily, we all survived," he says.

As she breastfeeds Manisha, her mother, Radhika, smiles shyly at the camera. "It is difficult to stay in this tent with the child. She gets bitten by mosquitoes and it is often chilly at night. It even rained a couple of nights," she says.

WOREC Nepal, an NGO working for women's rehabilitation, has set up tents at the camp to help the new mothers. Describing the challenges, Uma Mahat, part of WOREC's team says, "Among the first things needed are clothes and nutritious food for both the baby and the mother. We are also providing basic first aid kits, as they have all been discharged from the hospital very quickly."

As Supriya gives out a little cry, her father rues the loss of a normal childhood for her due to the natural calamity. "We don't want to bring her up in a tent but what to do, it is a difficult time," Subhash. That is a grim reality for not just Supriya, but hundreds of children in Nepal.