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At a glance: Indonesia

Education, water and sanitation at forefront of UNICEF quake relief in Indonesia

© UNICEF Indonesia/2006/Estey
Children at lessons in a school tent. UNICEF has distributed emergency school tents in the districts of Bantul, Yogyakarta and Klaten in Central Java.

By Sabine Dolan

NEW YORK, USA, 12 June 2006 – While communities pull together in Central Java, Indonesia, gradually clearing buildings destroyed by the 27 May earthquake, UNICEF is putting education, water and sanitation at the forefront of its ongoing relief efforts there.

Access to safe water has been a UNICEF priority since the immediate aftermath of the devastating quake. Within 24 hours of the disaster, the agency provided safe drinking water to affected communities. Today, UNICEF is forging ahead in this key area.

“UNICEF’s water and sanitation programmes are working on four areas of intervention – trucking of drinking water, distributing supplies like jerry cans and hygiene kits, construction of emergency toilets, and hygiene promotions to affected communities,” said UNICEF Water and Sanitation Officer Astrid van Agthoven.

© UNICEF Indonesia/2006/Estey
As part of the Indonesian Government’s ‘Back to School’ programme in the earthquake zone, UNICEF will distribute learning material for up to 100,000 students in time for the start of the new academic year on 17 July.

Promoting hygiene and health

While UNICEF and its partners provide clean drinking water through distribution of water containers and hygiene kits, daily life for displaced villagers living in temporary shelters remains difficult. Simple, everyday chores like washing and cooking are a challenge.

In the village of Gerjen and other quake-affected communities, villagers attend hygiene education classes as part of an effort to promote safe health practices.

Building and refurbishing latrines is another high priority for UNICEF. Within the next month, 190 latrines should be installed in 85 villages throughout Central Java.
Water and sanitation facilities are also being furnished at schools to promote a healthy learning environment for children.

© UNICEF Indonesia/2006/Purnomo
A resident of Gerjen village in the sub-district of Plered, Central Java, helps build a communal latrine for victims of the 27 May earthquake.

‘Back to School’ programme

Besides disrupting access to clean water, the earthquake, which measured 6.2 on the Richter scale, flattened or badly damaged more than 900 schools. The one in the village of Ngibikan was no exception: Nothing – not even books or supplies – could be salvaged.

Yet less than two weeks after the quake, students were learning again in UNICEF-supplied school tents. So far, the agency has distributed 30 school tents in Bantul, Yogyakarta and Klaten in Central Java, with another 68 to be distributed in those districts. In the earthquake zone as a whole, UNICEF plans to provide 1,000 school tents.
Meanwhile in Ngibikan, there may not be any school supplies available yet – nor desks and chairs, for that matter – but that hasn’t stopped resourceful teachers and volunteers from teaching children through song, dance and storytelling.

As part of the Indonesian Government’s ‘Back to School’ programme, UNICEF will distribute learning materials for up to 100,000 students in quake-affected communities like Ngibikan in time for the new academic year, which begins on 17 July.




12 June 2006:
UNICEF correspondent Sabine Dolan reports on post-quake relief efforts in Central Java focusing on education, water and sanitation.
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