October 29 2009

SOS Children's Villages helps children in aftermath of Indonesia quake

29/10/2009 - In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake which hit Sumatra Island on 30 September 2009 and killed more than 1100 people, SOS Children's Villages Indonesia has been helping children in and around Padang overcome the trauma and providing them with staple foods.

Photo: SOS Archives
Many of the children have seen more destruction and chaos than their young minds can handle - Photo: SOS Archives

As the process of rebuilding the center and suburbs of Padang, the provincial capital which bore the brunt of the quake, continues, SOS Children's Villages Indonesia has focused on healing the trauma many children suffered in the disaster. As they were giving the affected families the help they needed most urgently immediately after the quake hit, SOS co-workers soon realised that many children had been badly affected by the sheer scale of the devastation and the disruption of their everyday lives. Aside from the thousands of family homes that were destroyed, most of the schools were also flattened in the quake; classes are now being given outside or in makeshift tents.

Photo: SOS Archives
The children learn about the importance of personal hygiene and other good practises - Photo: SOS Archives

Three teams of SOS Children's Villages co-workers are currently active in the affected areas near Padang city- in Nagari Pakandangan and Padang Pariaman, dealing with the needs of children with the support of volunteers and like-minded organisations in the area. Community leaders and government officials have also been giving their unconditional support to these efforts, and even the top administrative official in the district, the Regent, joined the SOS Children's Villages programme in a school in Nagari Pakandangan to distribute milk to the children. Other activities included a "clean-hand" exercise in Nagari Pakandangan to raise children's awareness of the importance of personal hygiene and good practices, carried out in association with the Health Department of Yogyakarta, Unilever Indonesia, TAGANA Yogyakarta; students from Gajah Mada University organised the event.

The Indonesian island of Sumatra had been hit by a 7.6 magnitude quake on 30 September which left some four million people homeless and thousands dead.