STAFF and children at a Sunderland partner school are among those living in the devastation of Nepal.
Grangetown Primary School has forged strong links with their partner school Traibidya Shikshhya Sadanm in Katmandu over the past two years and are eagerly awaiting updates to find out if everyone they know is alright.
Headteacher at the Spelterworks Road school, Les McAnaney, said although the school has not been completely destroyed, it is damaged and closed down.
And, headteacher of the partner school, Sangeeta Shrestha, who has visited Sunderland twice, is currently living on the streets with her family over fears her home could collapse.
Mr McAneney, who has been out to visit the small poverty-stricken partner school, which has around six teachers, said as far they know the families involved with the school have survived the earthquake, but they are getting information through on a daily basis.
He said: “It is absolutely devastating what has happened. People are existing in a living nightmare.
“It really brings it home to the staff and children here on a personal level about what a humanitarian disaster is really like. These are people we actually know and they are going through this.”
Deputy headteacher, Lesley Cole, said: “I have spoken to Sangeeta on the phone and it is heartbreaking what she has been telling us. There are people living on the streets and they have no food and water. We are all very distressed and worried about them.”
Nepal has declared three days of mourning for the victims of Saturday’s earthquake in which more than 5,000 people are now known to have died and a further 10,000 injured.
Prime Minister Sushil Koirala says the government is doing all it can but is overwhelmed by the scale of the catastrophe.
Mr McAnaney said they have held an assembly to explain to the children at the school what has happened to their pen friends.
He said: “We will be starting fundraising to do whatever we can to help.”
Two members of staff from Grangetown Primary were due to fly out to Nepal on an exchange visit with the school in May, a trip which has now been cancelled.
The headteacher said: “It was already a very poor school, which only had electricity on a Friday, so we don’t know what’s going to happen now.”
If anyone would like to make a donation to the fundraising for the Nepal school or can donate prizes for raffles, they can contact Grangetown Primary School on 0191 553 7647.