November 5 2010

SOS Children's Villages to help earthquake victims in Serbia

04/11/2010 - The strongest earthquake of the past thirty years in Serbia also caused some structural damage to the SOS Children's Village Kraljevo. But families in the neighbouring communities are much more affected. SOS Children's Villages Serbia is assessing the possibilities for an emergency relief programme.

Yesterday afternoon, five new children were admitted in the care of SOS Children's Village Kraljevo in Serbia. The admission, planned previously, comes less than twelve hours following the strongest earthquake of the past thirty years which hit Kraljevo and surrounding, claiming the lives of two people, injuring hundreds and leaving thousands homeless.

Situation in the SOS Children's Village

The small damages that occurred on the houses in the SOS Children's Village are nearly completely repaired. Psychological support is continuously provided to children and youth. Solutions are sought out for assistance to three co-workers whose homes are destroyed. The family of one co-worker who moved temporarily in the village is facing serious problems as apart from the loss of their home, they struggle with health issues of family members.

Situation in Kraljevo

At present, the town of Kraljevo is left without the public health centre which was assessed as instable and unsafe and will most likely be demolished. All eight school and four kindergartens in Kraljevo and two kindergartens in the surrounding remain closed at least until Monday, 8 November, with possibility for extension by moving the [January] winter break two months earlier. The central kindergarten in which the food for all kindergartens is prepared is heavily damaged which brings in question the daily preparation of 1,700 meals for pre-school children. The primary school in the vicinity of the SOS Children's Village is also severely damaged. Evaluation of properties is ongoing, while first shipments of help, mainly food and bottled water, began arriving from other parts of Serbia. Tap water remains unsafe for consuming. Series of 90 small tremors in the past 36 hours disturbed the citizens. Seismic experts say there is no reason for further panic as this is result of the ground settling.

Actions by SOS Children's Villages

Following the assessment and amidst repairs of the damages in the village, SOS Children's Villages seeks out possibilities for aiding the community. Mr Damir Coric, deputy regional director, met with the Kraljevo Mayor today discussing the set-up of an emergency programme which, most likely, will focus on reparation of kindergartens and direct assistance to endangered families in areas where an SOS family strengthening programme was already planned for launching. Cooperation with other government and non-government organizations is also taken into consideration.