October 25 2005
South Asia Earthquake: Children urgently need aid and rehabilitation
More than two weeks after the devastating earthquake in South Asia, thousands of children are still in need of basic aid. As approved by the governments of Pakistan and Azad Jammu & Kashmir, SOS Children's Villages is searching for unaccompanied children and women in Muzaffarabad and surroundings, and is bringing them to the organisation's emergency relief shelter in Rawalpindi/Islamabad. In addition, SOS Children's Villages has sent 80,000 energy bars and 100,000 surgical masks to the quake-hit regions.
(25 October 2005) - SOS Children's Villages is sending "search and rescue" teams, comprising of one doctor, two nurses and a lab technician, to the earthquake-hit areas in and around Muzaffarabad. These teams will be searching for unaccompanied children, as well as unaccompanied women with children, in all field hospitals and camps in the region. Wounded children will be airlifted to Islamabad, while the others will be transported by road to the organisation's emergency relief shelter in Rawalpindi/Islamabad, where they will receive care in the form of safe shelter, food, medicine and psychological support.
The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shaukat Aziz, has announced that the government will allow SOS Children's Villages, as a reputable, credible, established and highly professional civil society organisation, to provide services and rehabilitation to unaccompanied children from the quake-hit regions. The government of Azad Jammu & Kashmir has authorised SOS Children's Villages to take custody of these children.
SOS Children's Villages will be making every effort to reunite these children with their families, and then to ensure that the families have the means and the resources to care for these children. For the reunification process, SOS Children's Villages will be maintaining a database with as much information about the child as possible.
Children who were orphaned, or those who cannot be reunited with their families, will be offered long-term care in a family environment at an SOS Children's Village. To accommodate these children in their home region, a recently built but still uninhabited children's village in Muzaffarabad, which was damaged in the earthquake, will be repaired. If necessary, a further SOS Children's Village will be constructed in Mirpur, Azad Jammu & Kashmir. In addition, a further five family houses will be added to the existing children's village in Dhodial, North West Frontier Province.
Earlier in the week and in cooperation with the Norwegian foreign ministry, SOS Children's Villages has sent some 80,000 energy bars and 100,000 surgical masks to Pakistan, which will be transported to the quake-hit regions. In addition, SOS Children's Villages has ordered 720 tents which will be ready for delivery in the coming days.
SOS Children's Villages has been carrying out humanitarian work in Pakistan since 1975 and currently operates seven SOS Children's Villages, six youth facilities, seven schools, four vocational training centres, four SOS Social Centres and two SOS Medical Centres.
SOS Children's Villages is active in 132 countries and territories. 438 SOS Children's Villages and 346 SOS Youth Facilities provide more than 59,000 children and youths in need with a new home. More than 131,000 children/youths attend SOS Kindergartens, SOS Schools and SOS Vocational Training Centres. Around 397,000 people benefit from the services provided by SOS Medical Centres, 115,000 people from services provided by SOS Social Centres. SOS Children's Villages also helps in situations of crisis and disaster through emergency relief programmes.
To organise interviews with the President and Vice-President of SOS Children's Villages in Pakistan, or for more information on the organisation's international work, please contact:Adriana Pontieri
International Press Officer,
Tel: +43 1 368 2457 2185