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6.5 Aceh Earthquake: Plan International Monitors Situation as Emergency Teams Prepare to Deploy

JAKARTA - Plan International is closely monitoring the impact of the 6.5-magnitude earthquake that struck the east coast of Aceh province in Indonesia today at 5:03 a.m. local time.

According to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, classes have been disrupted for some 30,000 students. The District Education Office has instructed officials to close schools located in the affected areas of Pidie Jaya (the district closest to the earthquake’s epicenter), until further notice.

Plan International is coordinating closely with the National and Local Disaster Management Agency, community partners, and other in-country humanitarian agencies, and is ready to respond if assistance is requested.

Wahyu Kuncoro, Disaster Risk Management Manager for Plan International Indonesia said: “Children and girls are the most vulnerable victims of disasters and emergencies, and Plan International is ready to work with local authorities and governments to get aid delivered to those who need it the most.

“We have pre-positioned emergency supplies that can be distributed, including emergency shelter kits and other urgent humanitarian supplies. Our most immediate concern is ensuring that children and girls in affected areas are safe and protected, and we encourage the government and all humanitarian actors to prioritize child protection issues. Failure to fulfill this can have a harmful long-term impact on children’s growth and development.

“Many schools are now closed as a result of the earthquake, which means that thousands of children are not able to resume their education. As a result, these children may lack the physical protection and emotional support that their school environment provides. Creating a safe space for children to continue their education will help them to cope with the emotional stress they faced as a result of the earthquake.”

Initial government reports indicate that the earthquake has caused at least 53 casualties, though the number is expected to increase as search and rescue operations continue. The earthquake, which was felt in neighboring districts as far as 62 miles away, has caused extensive damage to religious sites, homes, and public buildings.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Plan International staff in Indonesia are available for interviews.

About Plan International Indonesia

Plan International has been working in Indonesia since 1969, and is helping marginalized children to access their rights to health, sanitation, education, livelihoods, and protection.

About Plan International USA

Plan International USA, part of the Plan International Federation, is a child-centered development organization that believes in the promise and potential of children. For more than 75 years in over 50 developing countries, Plan has been breaking the cycle of child poverty. Everything Plan does – from strengthening health care systems to improving the quality of education, to advocating for increased protection and beyond – is built with, and owned by, the community. The result is a development approach designed to improve the lives of the youngest members of the community for the longest period of time. For more information, please visit http://www.PlanUSA.org.

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