The needs of children affected by the devastating earthquake that hit Indonesia on Friday 28 September must be prioritised in the response to the disaster.
With their homes destroyed and multiple aftershocks continuing to cause fear and uncertainty, it is vital that children get the support they need to help them cope with what has happened.
“For children affected by this disaster, their lives have been turned upside down,” says Dini Widiastuti, Executive Director of Plan International Indonesia Foundation.
Children in urgent need
“At the moment, they must be feeling extremely scared. Aftershocks continue to shake the ground beneath their feet which is causing further damage to the buildings around them, and many are now living out in the open without shelter and nothing to protect them from the elements.
“It is also unknown at this stage how many have become separated from their families in the chaos, and these children in particular will be feeling especially fearful and are in urgent need of support.
“As well as water, food and shelter, it is vital that child protection is prioritised in this response and that we take action to help all children caught up in this disaster regain a sense of security and normality in their lives as soon as possible.”
The powerful 7.4 magnitude earthquake and following tsunami hit Donggala district and the city of Palu on the island of Sulawesi on Friday 28 September.
Over 1 million affected
At least 832 people are now known to have died in the disaster, and it is estimated that the lives of over a million have been affected.
As well as water, food and shelter, it is vital that child protection is prioritised in this response.
Access to the island has been severely restricted, with the runway of the main airport damaged in the quake.
Plan International Indonesia Foundation’s emergency response team left Jakarta on a flight to Sulawesi early on Monday morning local time, to carry out a rapid needs assessment as part of the coordinated response.
“Due to the damage at Palu airport, the flight landed in the west of Sulawesi and the team will try to reach Palu by road,” Widiastuti explained.
“It will be a long and difficult journey as reports indicate that there have been a number of landslides, which has resulted in many roads being blocked. There are also reports that bridges have been damaged, but we anticipate that the team with reach Palu late on Monday night.
“We are coordinating closely with the government, partners, and other humanitarian organisations to ensure that we reach all those affected by this tragedy. As a child rights organisation with a strong focus on gender equality, our primary concern is the safety, security and needs of children, especially girls and young women – including expectant and breastfeeding mothers – and our team will work to ensure that the distinct needs of these survivors are taken into account and met.”
Plan International Indonesia Foundation has non-food items including hygiene kits, tarpaulins and blankets pre-positioned in its warehouse in Jakarta.
These are ready to be dispatched as soon as the rapid needs assessment has determined what people are most in need of and how many people have been affected.
For media enquiries please contact:
Kirsty Cameron, Global Press Officer, Plan International
Mobile: +44 (0) 788 580 7503
Linda Sukandar, Fundraising and Communication Director
Ayu Windiyaningrum, Communications Manager