SOURCE: Save the Children

Save the Children

October 01, 2009 16:24 ET

Save the Children Assisting Children and Families Devastated by Disasters in Southeast Asia; More Storms and Aftershocks Predicted

Crisis for Children in Asia

WESTPORT, CT--(Marketwire - October 1, 2009) - Over the past week, Southeast Asia has been hit with multiple disasters, leaving children and families in the area homeless, hurt and in need of help. Save the Children is moving quickly to assist them, responding to a tropical storm and widespread flooding in the Philippines, earthquakes in Indonesia, the aftermath left by a typhoon in Vietnam and deploying staff to American Samoa.

"Many parts of Asia have been dealt a devastating blow this week, and children and families across the region are in crisis," said Charles MacCormack, president and CEO of Save the Children. "Save the Children has been working in these countries for decades, which has allowed us to immediately scale up to respond. Currently we are distributing relief items in the Philippines, assessing needs and positioning emergency shelter and household kits in Indonesia, scaling up relief operations in Vietnam, and working with FEMA and the Red Cross to assess needs in American Samoa."

Details of Save the Children's humanitarian response to the emergencies are listed below.

Philippines:

With families still trying to rally from the aftermath of Tropical Storm Ketsana, a super typhoon is churning toward the storm-ravaged Philippines. The storm has winds of 150 mph and as of Thursday afternoon is about 600 miles southeast of Manila, the Philippine capital. Save the Children is responding and moving quickly to provide assistance to as many vulnerable children as possible.

Save the Children is working closely with local governments, partners and children's organizations to meet the immediate needs of affected families. It is providing blankets, hygiene items, children's clothing and other items to affected families; initiating livelihoods programs so that families may begin to earn the money needed to rebuild their lives; and assessing health, water and sanitations needs.

Floodwaters are receding, allowing better access to hard-hit communities, but the response is still complicated by standing water or damaged infrastructure in other areas, making them difficult to reach.

More than 380,000 people have taken refuge in shelters -- and another 350,000 people, half of them children, are without shelter. More than 2 million people have been affected.

Indonesia:

Save the Children is rapidly moving to assess the needs of children and assist them through the current crisis in Padang, Sumatra, as aftershocks continue, further imperiling their lives and well-being.

A 6.8-magnitude quake hit western Sumatra on Thursday morning, Sumatra time, just hours after a 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Padang, killing more than 500 people, collapsing homes and buildings, and affecting more than 1 million children and families. At least half of those affected are children.

Save the Children is sending 3,364 household kits, 10,076 hygiene kits, and 3,300 family tarps (including plastic mats) and 608 shelter kits to the affected area to help families who are sleeping in the open and have lost their homes.

"Vulnerable families are going to need all the support we can provide them -- now and in the coming months. Save the Children is planning to be there to help them and their communities get through the coming days, protect and provide for their children and, ultimately, recover," said Mark Fritzler, Save the Children's country director in Indonesia.

Vietnam:

Save the Children is mobilizing staff and resources to assist Vietnamese children and families affected by Typhoon Ketsana, which cut a deadly path across the country Tuesday, displacing more than 350,000 people.

In Vietnam, Ketsana destroyed more than 170,000 homes, triggered mudslides, destroyed crops and isolated many communities. Save the Children is conducting a rapid assessment to gauge the needs of children and families, and will deliver lifesaving relief where children are most vulnerable.

American Samoa:

Save the Children has sent a child protection specialist to American Samoa to determine the needs of children in the aftermath of the tsunami that struck the island Tuesday, September 29, killing at least 30 people. According to reports, the tsunami has destroyed buildings and homes across the shore line, cut electricity for most of the island, and has caused thousands to flee their homes.

Save the Children is the leading independent organization that creates lasting change for children in need in the United States and around the world. Save the Children USA is a member of the International Save the Children Alliance, a global network of 29 independent Save the Children organizations working to ensure the well-being and protection of children in more than 120 countries. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.