January 28 2004
Further aid initiatives for earthquake victims in Algeria
28/01/2004 - The most serious earthquake in more than twenty years hit Algeria on 21 May 2003, affecting especially the heavily populated northern coastal region, claiming more than 2,000 lives and bringing untold material damage. Eight months after the disaster, thousands of families whose houses were destroyed are still sticking it out in tents, receiving only the basic emergency supplies.
SOS Children's Villages Algeria, which distributed aid packages to affected families immediately after the earthquake and consequently also organised a holiday camp for 1,100 children, is now, in the face of the continuing state of emergency for numerous children and their families, starting a new aid initiative with support from ECHO (the Humanitarian Aid Office of the European Commission).
Aid from the state is rarely sufficient in rural areas, the target areas for comprehensive help from public money are primarily the urban regions which are designated "officially affected zones". Families which have been promised accommodation in temporary housing have had to live for months in tents; nor do the winter months show any signs of bringing any long-term improvement in their burdensome situation. SOS Children's Villages has used questionnaires to establish the needs of the affected families, most of which are from the poorest fringes of society (large families, high unemployment, low income, and modest accommodation).
Around 5,000 children, orphans among them, and 2,000 grown ups will benefit from the aid initiative which is financed primarily by ECHO and organised by SOS Children's Villages. The plan is to provide 1,500 heating systems for tents and unheated emergency accommodation, 7,000 sleeping bags, sanitation articles, clothing, blankets, cooking equipment and to install 300 floors and other insulation measures for the tents.
The emergency aid programme, set to run for four months, will be implemented in the area around Boudouaou, Rouiba, Thénia, Reghia, Ain Taya, Meftah, Zémouri and Sidi Daoud.