More Than 2,700 Schools Badly Damaged or Destroyed in Disaster-Hit Sulawesi as Children Return to Class
FAIRFIELD, Conn. (Oct. 10, 2018)—While schools officially re-opened on Monday in earthquake- and tsunami-hit parts of Sulawesi, thousands of children have been returning to find some of their classrooms in rubble, with tables and chairs broken and learning materials strewn across the ground.
Over 2,700 schools were severely damaged or destroyed in the disaster 12 days ago, which affected more than 600,000 people, including at least 180,000 children.
Save the Children, operating through its national partner Yayasan Sayangi Tunas Cilik (YSTC) in Indonesia, is establishing temporary learning centers in affected areas to provide children with basic learning as well as a vital sense of routine and normality amid so much devastation.
“Schools are such important spaces for children. Not only are they where children learn and develop new skills, but where they feel safe and supported in a nurturing environment. It is heartbreaking to know that for hundreds of thousands of children in Central Sulawesi, they are returning to see their classrooms in ruins,” said Selina Sumbung, Chairperson of Save the Children’s partner in Indonesia.
“When I visited Palu on Sunday, I saw schools with walls that had completely collapsed in on themselves. Children want to go back, they want to learn, but they’re finding all their books on the ground, chairs broken and tables smashed.
“We support the Indonesian government’s commitment to get children back to school as soon as it is safe to do so. School is the absolute best place for children in a crisis like this and is vital for their emotional recovery.”
Save the Children, through its national partner, has provided hundreds of affected families in Sulawesi with life-saving relief including hygiene kits, fresh water, plastic sheeting and rope for shelter. Daily distributions are planned over the coming weeks.
In addition, five safe Child Friendly Spaces are being established in Palu city. The spaces provide children with an opportunity to play and recover while their families receive information on how to access services to rebuild their lives.
Save the Children has been working in Indonesia since 1976, and has a long history responding to humanitarian disasters in the country, including the recent earthquakes in Lombok and the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.
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