Save the Children Prepared to Respond to Children's Needs in New Zealand Earthquake

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FAIRFIELD, Conn. (Nov. 13, 2016) — Aid workers from Save the Children will mobilize staff to meet the needs of children and their families affected by last night's earthquake in New Zealand if there is a need for a humanitarian response. The powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck approximately 30 miles north-east of Christchurch and was felt across the country. A tsunami warning is in place and residents in low-lying areas have been urged to evacuate.

"The full extend of the earthquake damage is still emerging, but we know from previous experience in earthquake how badly children can be affected from natural disasters like this," said Heather Hayden, Save the Children's CEO in New Zealand. "It will be important for parents and caregivers to allow children to express their feelings about the earthquake they lived through."

"As we have done in other disasters we may look at establishing what's known as child friendly spaces. Child friendly spaces can improve children's psychological wellbeing by helping to re-establish routine, provide support and a sense of stability, as well as an opportunity to play. The spaces also provide respite for families under stress, so parents can focus on re-establishing their livelihoods knowing their children are in safe hands.

"We strive to support children in disasters like earthquakes. We did it following the last Christchurch earthquake and we will do it again if there is a need to now," added Hayden.

Save the Children gives children in the United States and around the world a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We invest in childhood — every day, in times of crisis and for our future. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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