June 7 2006
Earthquake in Indonesia: Focus on supporting children
06/06/2006 - Since the strong earthquake that caused devastation to the area around the town of Yogayakarta in the south of Java on 27 May and led to the deaths of more than 5,700 people, SOS Children's Villages Indonesia has been providing relief at various locations: children and their special needs are central to this relief effort.
SOS co-workers made their way to the area affected by the disaster on the day of the earthquake to ease the situation and to prepare for relief efforts. Food (milk powder, biscuits and snacks for children, etc.), tents, blankets, carpets, medication and water pumps have since been distributed in three locations that suffered particularly severe destruction and where villagers were particularly affected. In the next phase of the relief efforts, toys, school books and clothes were also given to the villagers.
Many SOS youths and staff from other SOS facilities (particularly Semarang which is two hours away from Yogyakarta by car) have also been involved in the relief effort in Prambanan, Imogiri and Bantul. Staff and young people from Bandung and Jakarta have also since become involved.
In the meantime, four day care centres have been set up in Prambanan, Imogiri, Bantul and Yogyakarta in cooperation with the National Commission for Child Protection*. The children play, sing, dance, paint and read at the centres. Lessons are also held for primary school children. Staff at SOS Children's Villages have described the great difficulties that the children initially had in taking part in the activities at the centre after all that they had been through.
Most of them now actively participate in the various games, whilst their parents take part in the cleanup effort and are forced to come to terms with the difficult situation. Teams from SOS Children's Villages are helping the families to clear up the debris and get on with everyday life.
Medical and psychological support are important aspects of SOS Children's Villages' relief programme. Doctors, nurses and psychologists at the centres care for children requiring medical and, above all, psychological care as a result of the trauma they have suffered. The villagers are also given medical checkups and treatment.
*Indonesia's top child protection organisation