Jakarta/Geneva 11 October 2018 – Today UNICEF launched a combined emergency and recovery appeal to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of children in the aftermath of the Sulawesi and Lombok disasters over a period of 6 months. The funds will help provide water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), health, nutrition, education and child protection services for an estimated 475,000 children, as part of the response led by the Government of Indonesia.
It is estimated that 1.5 million people have been affected by a tsunami triggered by a 7.4 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Sulawesi on 28 September. As of 9 October, 2,010 people are confirmed dead, 10,700 people seriously injured and 671 people still missing. In Lombok, following a series of destructive earthquakes in August, more than 340,000 people are still displaced and living in 2,800 camps. UNICEF is seeking US$26.6 million to support 1.4 million people access services for WASH, child protection, education, health, and infant nutrition in Central Sulawesi and Lombok.
“Our utmost priority at the moment is to ensure that children receive life-saving support in the form of health and water and sanitation, nutrition and child protection services,” said UNICEF Indonesia Representative Debora Comini. “But the next 6 months are extremely crucial, as we work to ensure that every child affected has a fair chance of continuing their ongoing recovery and rebuilding their lives for the better in a safe and conducive environment.”
Around 83,000 people are displaced in Central Sulawesi and some 500,000 people urgently need access to water and sanitation services. Prior to this disaster, Palu, the main urban centre had a low immunization coverage at 49 per cent, and a wasting and stunting prevalence of 12.5 and 36.1 per cent respectively. Central Sulawesi also has one of the lowest rates of sanitation in Indonesia.
These vulnerabilities exacerbate the risk of disease outbreaks for thousands of children. Many of the 2,700 schools in the region could also be affected and the education of 270,000 children could therefore be in jeopardy.
As part of its emergency response, UNICEF and partners will be providing water and sanitation services for displaced populations, complemented by hygiene promotion; UNICEF will also help with the resumption of health and nutrition services and will be setting up temporary learning spaces.
UNICEF is concerned about separated children and children in need of psychosocial support. Our teams on the ground are putting in place community-based safe spaces for women and children, including child-friendly spaces, and continuing registration and tracing mechanisms to help identify, register, verify and reunite children and families.
In Lombok, UNICEF supports the Ministry of Health on nutrition, maternal and child health and immunization; and the Ministry of Public Works on WASH. UNICEF works with the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Education to ensure that child protection and psychosocial activities are in line with the global minimum standards.
“A team of UNICEF staff have been on-site in the affected areas, supporting the government’s response in the areas of water, sanitation and hygiene, child protection, health, nutrition and education. And we will continue to be there, to expand our immediate relief operations into early recovery so that children are able to get their lives back on track for a better future,” added Comini.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF East Asia & Pacific and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/eap