At 4:30 pm on Sunday, August 3, 2014, a 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck Ludian County in Zhaotong Municipality, Yunnan Province in southwestern China. This earthquake was reported to be the strongest earthquake to hit Yunnan Province in the past 18 years, affecting more than 1 million people, resulting in 617 casualties and 3,143 people injured.
Save the Children dispatched its first team to the earthquake-hit area on August 6th for rapid needs assessment, as well as distributing the first batch of relief materials. A total of 750 family household kits have been delivered to children and their families. Each kit, worth over 200 RMB, contains 1 thick blanket, 2 sets of children’s underwear, 1 raincoat, 1 pair of rain boots, and 2 pairs of socks. Save the Children distributed the family household kits in Yinchang Village of Huodehong Town and Guangming Village of Longtoushan Town in Ludian County in the subsequent days.
Later, Save the Children dispatched five working groups with staff members from health, education, and protection teams to provide professional support to affected children. Based on our previous emergency response experience, and the needs of children in this area, we set up three Child Friendly Spaces(CFS) – safe and receptive spaces for children to play, talk, and express themselves – in Ludian and Qiaojia Counties. The CFSs also serve as a platform to provide other services and activities to children, focusing on psychosocial support, disaster risk reduction, health and hygiene.
With the ongoing relief efforts, Save the Children has shifted its work focus to providing affected children with long-term psychosocial support. We are achieving this in three ways. First is by establishing CFSs to help children in surrounding villages recover through various games and activities. In communities, where a CFS cannot be established, we have dispatched mobile psychosocial support teams to help these children. Additionally, we train teachers from kindergartens and schools on how to integrate teaching methods that focus on healing and education through arts.
Up to now, Save the Children has held several training activities in cooperation with local partners. These trainings have helped local partners and volunteers master scientific methods on providing psychosocial support to children and on the management of Child Friendly Spaces. Our mobile psychosocial support team has entered remote villages in Longtoushan Township, which was heavily affected by the earthquake, and carried out psychosocial activities for children there.
Additionally, through mass media and social media, Save the Children advocated to the public and corporations to not donate formula milk to disaster-hit areas but rather provide support and guidance for mothers in affected areas to continue breastfeeding.
Save the Children has responded to over 20 emergencies in China, including the Ya’an Earthquake in 2013 and the two Yunnan earthquakes in 2012. We work to guarantee children’s rights to survive, to be protected and to participate in before, during, and after disasters.