|© UNICEF video|
|A young survivor of the earthquake that struck West Sumatra, Indonesia holds a tap bringing safe water to his community.|
By Suzanna Dayne
NEW YORK, USA, 12 March 2007 – UNICEF emergency supplies have reached the Indonesian province of West Sumatra, where two major earthquakes last week killed dozens of people and injured nearly 1,000 more.
“UNICEF is now on emergency response. We are focusing on children and mothers, particularly young school-age children,” said the UNICEF team leader in the affected area, Teh Tai Ring.
Thousands of homes, schools and businesses were destroyed when the 6.3 trembler struck the area last week. Aftershocks are still being felt and many residents are choosing to camp out rather than sleep in their homes, amidst fears of another major jolt.
UNICEF is helping by providing the survivors with basic necessities, including hygiene kits, cooking sets, tents, tarpaulins, jerry cans and water bladders that provide some 5,000 litres of safe water.
Meeting the needs of survivors
Local officials say hundreds of schools have been damaged and some are beyond repair. In response, UNICEF has distributed 30 school tents, which are being erected with the help of army personnel to ensure that students do not miss out on their studies. One hundred more tents are on the way.
Initial findings suggest that no children have been separated from their families by the disaster, but child protection specialists are on the ground to make sure.
Health and nutrition experts have also been asked to carry out preventive measures among the affected population. Teams are distributing vitamin A supplements to boost children’s immunity and providing some supplementary feeding for infants and pregnant women.
Meanwhile, UNICEF will continue to work with its sister UN agencies and non-governmental organizations in Indonesia, as well as with the local government, to ensure that the needs of survivors – especially children – are met.