Earthquake in China: Urgent Relief Needed for Children
BEIJING and BANGKOK - The core needs of children are not being met following the 6.5 magnitude earthquake in China’s Yunnan Province on August 3rd, including concerns around safety issues, delivery of relief kits, and mitigating the damage to schools, according to Plan International. Plan is implementing a detailed response to address these needs in Yunnan.
The death toll from the earthquake has risen to 589 people, with a further 2,401 injured; 229,700 people have been displaced and over 676,000 houses damaged. In addition, almost 100 schools have been damaged with approximately 50,000 affected in Ludian County, where the damage has been most severe.
Plan International is issuing an emergency appeal to fund relief kits for children and their families and establish “child friendly spaces”, which provide secure, safe, and healthy spaces where children can continue to learn.
“School is supposed to start on September 1, and we need to provide spaces where children can be safe, secure, and continue to play and learn, and where their parents can be confident that their children are being looked after as communities struggle to recover from this tragedy,” said Sven Coppens, Plan’s Country Director in China.
Coppens noted that when a disaster like this happens, it is children who are the most vulnerable. Not only are their schools often damaged or unsafe, but with the loss of a school facility, there often is nowhere else secure for them to go; at the same time, health, hygiene, food, and clean water become much more scarce, and hundreds of thousands have been displaced from their homes.
“Plan aims to fill that gap by distributing relief kits, providing safe spaces for children, and leading a range of safe school activities in the region,” said Coppens. “Children often get forgotten in the rush that follows a natural disaster, and Plan is there to help children and their families and ensure that kids are safe and can continue to play and learn.”
Following the earthquake, Plan immediately deployed a rapid response team to the areas impacted by the earthquake. The response is being coordinated by the government of the People’s Republic of China, with international and local NGOs and relief agencies supporting these efforts.
Plan works in several communities throughout Yunnan Province. The communities that Plan works in are not in the areas affected by the earthquake and no Plan-sponsored children are reported to have been injured.
Note to Editors: Plan’s Country Director in China, Sven Coppens, is available for interviews.
About Plan International USA
Plan International USA is part of the Plan International Federation, a global organization that works side by side with communities in 50 developing countries to end the cycle of poverty for children and their families. Plan works at the community level to develop customized solutions and ensure long-term sustainability. Our solutions are designed up-front to be owned by communities for generations to come and range from clean water and health care programs to education projects and child protection initiatives. For more information, please visit www.PlanUSA.org.