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INDONESIA: Children Flee Classrooms with At Least One Student among Dozens Killed as Earthquake Hits West Java

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (Nov. 21, 2022)— Children fled from their schools on Monday afternoon as a massive earthquake hit Indonesia's main island of Java, with more than 60 people reported killed, including one teacher and a student, and about 25 believe trapped in collapsed buildings, Save the Children said.

The earthquake of magnitude 5.6 was centered in the Cianjur region of West Java province, triggering landslides and causing buildings to collapse, including schools where classes were underway.

Provisional data released by Indonesian authorities said about 51 education units were affected, including 30 elementary schools, 12 junior high schools, one high school, five vocational schools, and one special school. 

Early reports showed one teacher, and one student died in the disaster, with nine seriously injured and nine others slightly injured. However, the numbers of fatalities and injuries were changing rapidly.

SMP Junior High School 5, one of the schools involved in a Save the Children program, was affected by the earthquake, with teacher Mia Saharosa describing what happened.

"It was a shock to all of us as it occurred in the middle of the learning process … We all gathered in the field; children were terrified and cried, worried about their families at home. We hug each other, strengthen each other, and continue to pray."

Selina Sumbung, CEO and Chairman of Save the Children Indonesia, said an emergency response team from Save the Children is heading to Cianjur early Tuesday to assess the initial impact of the disaster and determine the basic needs of children and families regarding health and nutrition, shelter, and protection. 

Save the Children is preparing school tents, back-to-school kits, educational recreation kits, and family hygiene kits to distribute.

In addition, Save the Children will collaborate with various Indonesian institutions and other humanitarian organizations to prepare a joint need assessment to identify the overall needs of people affected by the earthquake. 

Children are one of the most vulnerable populations affected in disasters which can leave long-lasting trauma. Save the Children plan to conduct psychosocial first aid (PFA) to provide mental and psychological support for children.


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