|© UNICEF Chile|
SANTIAGO, Chile, 8 March 2010 – Intensifying its cooperation with the different public and private institutions it usually works with in Chile, UNICEF is working to help alleviate the effects of the 8.8-magnitude earthquake that shook the country on 27 February.
In addition to the permanent technical assistance it provides to organizations working directly with children, UNICEF Chile is collaborating actively in the rapid response to the basic needs that have arisen in the emergency.
One of the focuses of UNICEF’s current aid in Chile is to work jointly with the National Board of Day-Care Centres (JUNJI), supporting that institution’s efforts to quickly re-open the nursery schools and kindergartens in the regions affected by the quake. The concrete aid will take to form of supplying disposable diapers in the JUNJI’s care centres in the most affected zones.
Together with the national Ministry of Health, UNICEF also is working to prepare and disseminate educational materials for the affected population in areas including hygiene and psychological support.
Normalizing the return to school
With the Ministry of Justice and the National Service for Children (SENAME), UNICEF is addressing post-earthquake needs that have arisen in adolescent detention centres in the most affected areas. It is coordinating and supplying the delivery of food and personal hygiene items, among other things, in the centres under the SENAME system in the regions of Maule, Bío Bío and Araucanía.
The same aid also is going to children’s shelters in the affected areas.
In order to help Chile’s most vulnerable population, UNICEF, in cooperation with the national Solidarity and Social Investment Fund (FOSIS), will provide technical assistance to quickly normalize the return to school for children in the devastated area.
Through the FOSIS-run ‘Bridge Programme,’ which serves the country’s poorest families, UNICEF will distribute knapsacks with school supplies. It will also provide technical assistance to the programme’s ‘family supports’ component by providing training in areas related to emotional and psychological support for those affected by post-disaster trauma.
Additional assessments and support
UNICEF is also supporting the Ministry of Education in gathering information about the priority needs of all schools in the Maule and Bío Bío regions. These include the availability of teachers; the accessibility, capacity and availability of resources for school transport; and the lack of equipment and teaching materials.
It is also collaborating in guiding the selection of materials for teachers to make the so-called ‘education bridge’ – preparing school communities for the return to classes following a natural disaster of this magnitude.