SOURCE: Save the Children

Save the Children

October 03, 2009 13:10 ET

Save the Children Staff Responding to Unprecedented Number of Disasters in Asia Pacific

Powerful Earthquakes Rock Indonesia; Thousands Buried Under Rubble; Typhoon Parma Slams Into Philippines

WESTPORT, CT--(Marketwire - October 3, 2009) - Save the Children relief workers continue to move quickly, responding to urgent needs for children and families impacted by on-going disasters in Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and American Samoa.

"Thousands of people are missing in Indonesia after two devastating earthquakes, and today Typhoon Parma slammed into the Philippines dumping more water on the already storm-battered country," said Carolyn Miles, Chief Operating Officer of Save the Children. "With several simultaneous emergencies we urgently need more resources to reach children and families -- millions have lost their homes and are without clean water, shelter and food. It is a race against time."

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

Indonesia:

As many as 4,000 people could be buried under the rubble in the aftermath of devastating earthquakes in Indonesia. Currently the death toll is estimated at 715. A 7.6-magnitude quake struck Sumatra on Wednesday and a 6.6-magnitude earthquake hit Thursday morning in the same region. Tens of thousands of children are at risk of hunger and diseases and exposed to the elements. Many children are believed to be separated from parents.

"With each passing day, the magnitude of the devastation grows," said Mark Fritzler, Save the Children's Country Director in Indonesia. "In addition to the threat of aftershocks, heavy rainfall has challenged our efforts, roads are cut off and we have no power in many areas, but relief workers are reaching families in the hardest hit areas."

Save the Children relief teams are in Padang with truckloads of shelter and hygiene kits to distribute. In addition, two truckloads of kits, enough for 500 families, arrived today in the Pariaman district, where there has been little assistance since the earthquakes hit. Over the next several days, Save the Children will deliver 47 additional truckloads to the district.

Save the Children is also setting up temporary school structures which will provide a safe place for children, where they can receive counseling and support during this traumatic time. The organization is also helping with reunification efforts.

Philippines:

With wind gusts of up to 115 mph, Typhoon Parma crashed into the already storm-battered Philippines on Saturday afternoon, forcing tens of thousands of people to flee their homes. Although Parma veered off to the north, avoiding a direct hit on heavily populated Manila, it dumped heavy rainfall in the water-logged capital. On Tuesday, Typhoon Ketsana, which killed 246 people, submerged 80 percent of Manila.

"Two back-to-back Typhoons is absolutely catastrophic," said Latha Caleb, Save the Children Country Office Director for the Philippines. "We are experiencing mudslides and heavy flooding. People are panicked and we are working non-stop to bring relief efforts to the region."

Save the Children has distributed more than 5,000 kits of relief items, including clothing, blankets and hygiene supplies. Teams of staff are now preparing food distribution and Child Friendly Spaces for the thousands of families who have fled to shelters.

Vietnam:

Flooding from Typhoon Ketsana, which struck Vietnam on Tuesday and killed 99 people, has had a devastating affect on 12 provinces of Vietnam. Tens of thousands of families have lost their homes and belongings and are without food, shelter, clean water or electricity. Save the Children has started immediate distributions, and has delivered lifesaving emergency relief items to hundreds of families. Save the Children anticipates that it will help reconstruct schools, homes and health clinics, and provide livelihoods support to families for recovery of agricultural and lost assets.

American Samoa:

An 8.3-magnitude earthquake triggered a deadly tsunami that swept ashore on American Samoa, washing entire villages into the sea. Many families have been left homeless. Save the Children's child protection team is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Red Cross to meet the needs of children and families affected by this disaster.

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.