Monday, May 29, 2006

Save the Children Helping Families

Hat tip to a story at US Newswire: Save the Children Helping Families Left Homeless by Earthquake in Indonesia

May 28 7:31 AM US/Eastern

To: National and International desks

Contact: Kate Conradt, 202-294-9700 (mobile) or Mike Kiernan, 202-460-0614 (mobile) or 202-261-4686 (office) both for Save the Children

WASHINGTON, May 28 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Save the Children is appealing for public support to help provide basic necessities to thousands of children and families left homeless by a powerful earthquake that struck early Saturday morning in central Indonesia.

The magnitude 6.2 earthquake hit highly populated areas about 250 miles east of the capitol, Jakarta, while many were sleeping. Indonesian officials estimated more than 4,600 died from the disaster, with thousands more injured, and the totals are likely to rise further.
Tens of thousands of homeless survivors in the disaster area are now living on streets, in rice fields and even in graveyards as they fear additional aftershocks. Save the Children staff members in Bantul, the worst affected region, estimate that as many as 80 percent of homes may be damaged. Families are in immediate need of shelter, blankets, cooking utensils and hygiene items, they reported.

Save the Children already is working to deliver hygiene kits to 1,000 affected families. The kits contain soap, detergents, towels and toothbrushes. In addition, 30 boxes of games and toys, including sports equipment, are heading to Yogyakarta, another city hard hit by the quake, to provide children with some relief.

The agency also plans to distribute family kits with household supplies including a stove, cooking utensils, tools, plastic sheeting for shelter, and jerry cans for carrying water.
Additional Save the Children emergency experts flew out from the United Kingdom and the United States Saturday night to assist in the response efforts.

Save the Children officials remain concerned that the earthquake struck in the vicinity of Mount Merapi, an active volcano that recently has been sending out large clouds of gas and ash. A major eruption of the volcano could claim additional lives and greatly complicate relief efforts.

"We are asking the American public once again to support our efforts in Indonesia as they did so generously following the earthquake and tsunami of December 26, 2004," said Rudy Von Bernuth, who heads Save the Children USA's emergency response operations. "We have assisted more than 276,000 survivors of the tsunami in Indonesia, where we have operated programs for 30 years."

Von Bernuth said that Save the Children staff members in Indonesia have begun to mount a rapid assessment in areas impacted by the earthquake and to purchase supplies to meet the most urgent needs of children and families who have survived the earthquake.

"We will focus first on helping meet basic needs including providing water, food, medicines, hygiene kits and temporary shelter, with a special focus on ensuring that children are protected and safe," he said.

Following the tsunami, Save the Children played a leading role in helping protect children who survived the disaster. The agency helped reunite separated children with their families while also training teachers and re-equipping schools so children could return to school shortly after the disaster.

"In every disaster response situation, we work to inject some normalcy into the lives of children who have been uprooted from their homes and have seen everything familiar to them suddenly disappear," said Von Bernuth. "Children are very resilient and can overcome disasters, with the proper support and guidance."

Save the Children is a global leader in child-focused emergency response with decades of experience in addressing the unique needs of children in crisis. The agency currently works in 40 developing countries as well as in the United States including communities along the Gulf Coast recovering from the devastating impact of Hurricane Katrina last summer.
Attention Editors: Please include Save the Children on your list of humanitarian agencies responding to the disaster.

Following is contact information: Save the Children, 1-800-728-3843 or Releases US Newswire or Mailing Address: 54 Wilton Road, Westport, CT, 06880
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