Mynamar's children face fresh fears
Hundreds of thousands of children in Myanmar face new dangers as the new school year begins and they return to buildings ravaged by Cyclone Nargis.
Only a handful of the 3,000 schools destroyed or severely damaged by the cyclone have been repaired, leaving 360,000 children in affected areas without a safe place to learn.
Unsafe school buildings, a shortage of teachers and lack of trained professionals to offer emotional support to those who have been traumatized by the disaster, all put children returning to school at risk.
Plan actionPlan is already working with local partners to deliver anti-diarrhea, anti-bacterial and anti-malarial drugs, bandages and saline drips as well as emergency non-food items such as shelters, mosquito nets, axes and sarongs.
Ensuring children return to school safely is a key priority for Plan. It has extensive experience of using schools and other safe spaces to help children recover from disasters, including the 2004 tsunami, and the earthquakes in Yogyakarta, Indonesia and Pakistan.
Safe schoolsTom Miller, Plan Chief Executive Officer, said: “Our experience has taught us that for children, returning to school is a vital part of the recovery process. If properly organized, schools can offer a strong foundation for the entire community’s recovery.
“But re-opening schools before they are ready can do children more harm than good. What should be safe spaces for children become unsafe spaces if pupils are rushed back into damaged buildings with staff who are ill-equipped to help. Unfamiliar schools, with unfamiliar faces can exacerbate problems, leading to greater anxiety and a sense of isolation among children.
“Plan has valuable experience and is ready and able to work with communities, local partners and the authorities in Myanmar to ensure children get back to school as quickly as possible with the right support and trained staff they need to rebuild their lives.”
At least 135,000 people are dead or missing following the cyclone which struck Myanmar on 2 May. More than 2,500,000 people have been affected and many children have been left orphaned and homeless.
Emergency appealPlan has launched an emergency appeal and set up a US$1,000,000 fund to help affected children and communities in Myanmar.
Donate today to Plan's Disaster Fund to help us provide emergency relief as well as long-term assistance to children, their families and communities affected by disasters and crises.