– 8 October 2018
Emergency response team heads to Palu
As the death toll continues to rise and the search for the missing continues, SOS Children’s Villages Indonesia has sent a team of specialists to Palu, a city devastated by the earthquake and tsunami on 28 September.
The SOS team, consisting of field workers experienced in education, care and family support, will assess the situation for children, focusing on the protection of the most vulnerable children who have lost parental care. Latest reports state that around 2,000 people have died and there are more than 70,000 internally displaced persons. One third of the homeless are estimated to be children.
“The initial relief and response was mostly carried out by government agencies and armed forces. It is time now for child care specialist organisations like us to step in and support the authorities”, says Gregor Hadi Nitihardjo, National Director of SOS Children’s Villages Indonesia. “It is an ongoing emergency and aid workers are finally able to reach the hardest hit areas. We estimate that more than 15,000 children are displaced and in need of support.”
The main objectives of the SOS emergency response team will be to look at the need for psychosocial support for children, reunification for unaccompanied minors and Child Care Spaces so those affected can receive the care and protection they need, says Mr Nitihardjo. It may take at least two days to reach the affected area, he adds.
“Aside from the immediate needs of food and shelter, internally displaced children will need support for many months to come,” added Mr Nitihardjo. “Children are particularly vulnerable during humanitarian emergencies. In such situations, we put the protection of children and their families at the centre of our actions.”
Photo: EPA-EFE/MAST IRHAM