Save the Children is working to address increasing safety concerns surrounding children begging on the streets in the earthquake-affected area of Java. An estimated 40,000 children have been affected by last week's 6.3 earthquake, and it is estimated that more the 200,000 people are in need of immediate shelter.
"We have seen many, many children out begging on the street, which is not something that traditionally happens in this area,” said Deborah Haines, Emergency Advisor for Save the Children. ”Children are in a very vulnerable position."
Save the Children has developed a public service announcement to be broadcast on a local radio station in partnership with Indonesia’s Social Affairs Department to alert communities of the grave risks involved with children begging on streets, especially in high vehicle traffic areas. Parents are being asked to contact the radio station for help in finding emergency assistance and safe spaces where they can seek refuge, instead of resorting to child begging.
The agency is responding to this urgent need to get children off the streets by setting up tents and “child safe spaces” where children can continue with their education. This relief comes just as Indonesia’s Department of Education confirmed damage to 1,744 schools due to the earthquake.
"School helps children to recover emotionally. Games, art, singing and playing help relieve stress and trauma and getting together with friends, playmates and teachers gives them a sense of normality," said Haines. School can help on a practical level by giving children information on what to do if there are more aftershocks and where to run to if another earthquake hits, added Haines.
Since the earthquake, Save the Children has already distributed hundreds of educational supplies to teacher and students, in addition to shelter and kits containing basic household and hygiene items.
Organisation Contact Details:
Save the Children Australia
20 Council Street
Hawthorn East VIC 3123
Tel: + 61 3 9811 4999
Posted on 2006-06-28