Nepal’s police have started self-defense classes for women and girls left homeless after two huge earthquakes earlier this year, amid concerns about sexual assaults in the temporary shelters set up after the natural disaster.
The women and girls learn a variety of martial arts moves so they can punch, kick, and put attackers in several different kinds of lock, The Guardian reported, citing one of Nepal’s top police officials. The classes began last week.
Rape and attempted rape cases have been filed over alleged attacks at several temporary shelters, the Kathmandu Post reported in late May. Girls as young as 5 were attacked, according to the newspaper.
Human rights activists have also warned that the earthquake is likely to worsen the trafficking of Nepalese women and girls, a longstanding problem for the tiny Himalayan country.
More than 8,700 people died and hundreds of thousands of homes were destroyed by two earthquakes that hit Nepal on April 25 and May 12. Police say 100,000 people are living in temporary camps in the capital, Kathmandu, alone, the BBC reported last week.
Some schools in and around Kathmandu started to reopen last week, but almost 1 million children are still unable to return to class, according to the U.N.'s children's charity, Unicef. Nepal's total rebuilding costs could be as high as $7 billion, around one-third of its GDP, Al Jazeera reported last month.
Shyamantha Asokan is a foreign news reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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