‘The quake destroyed our homes and villages,’ says Jin, 12 years old
8 August 2014: For several days, Jin (12) has been living under makeshift shelter – composed of wood, an umbrella and quilts – alongside her 2 sisters, brother and parents. As a result of the 6.5 magnitude earthquake that hit Ludian County in Yunnan Province on the evening of 3 August, Jin and her family were forced to relocate to a public school in Longtoushan township, the epicenter of Yunnan earthquake.
When the earthquake began, “I remember playing with my sisters outside of the house,” recalls Jin. Jin’s parents were away from the home, collecting Chinese prickly ash in a neighbouring farmland. “We began to cry out and minutes later our parents came,” Jin says.
Jin’s house collapsed as a result of the earthquake, damaging many of their possessions. Although Jin’s family survived the earthquake, over 60 residents in her village – many of them children and the old people – were killed as a result.
After the earthquake, Plan China immediately deployed an emergency response team to the Earthquake-zone to conduct a rapid needs assessment. “Secondary disasters (like landslides) complicated the situation and it took us nearly 5 hours to arrive at the epicenter. Eventually we had to travel by foot, as the road leading to the epicenter of the quake was impassable,” says Wang Shaoping, Plan China Emergency Response Manager.
Immediately after the earthquake, the government began distributing tents, coats, quilts, portable water and instant noodles to affected communities. Jin and her family members were amongst the families to receive life-saving, essential items. Since the second day of the earthquake, Jin and her family have been depending on relief items.
Children’s needs must be met
With the collapsed house, the school bags and educational materials belonging to Jin and her sisters were buried in the debris. The primary school where Jin and her sister currently belong was also badly damaged. “I do not know how I will continue my study at the start of the new semester in September,” says Jin.
According to Yan Hailin, Plan’s Manager for Yunnan programme unit, “Parents are focusing extensively on the recovery of items and reconstruction of their homes. While this is indeed a priority, the needs of children are not being directly addressed. Many children remain in makeshift tents and are found playing in the earthquake debris. Their safety and protection must be a number one concern.”
Plan is supporting children affected by the disaster
Plan China is planning to establish 2 child-friendly spaces in the epicenter area, which will provide community-focused activities, and training to over 800 children and their parents on issues including childcare and development, child protection and disaster risk reduction. The child-friendly spaces will serve as a temporary and transitional location for children to access a formal education, while the affected schools in the area are rebuilt.
“Through cooperating with local government partners, school teachers and volunteers, Plan China’s priority in this disaster is to ensure that children’s rights and needs to education and safety are being met,” explains Sven Coppens, country director of Plan China.
Plan China is appealing for funds to run the child-friendly spaces and distribute school kits and hygiene kits to the affected children and their families.
Further details please contact:
China (Plan China Country office): Tian Bo, Plan China Communications Officer Mobile: +86 13720539989+86 13720539989 Email: Bo.Tian@plan-international.org
About Plan International: Founded over 75 years ago, Plan is one of the oldest and largest children's development organisations in the world. We work in 50 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas to promote child rights and lift millions of children out of poverty.Plan is independent, with no religious, political or governmental affiliations.
About Plan China: Plan has been working in China since 1995 helping children to access their rights to health, education, livelihoods and protection. Plan China strives to work with children, especially the most marginalised children, their families and their communities, to improve living standards and promote children’s development.
Plan’s major programme areas are located in Shaanxi Province, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and Yunnan Province, where 168,000 children have directly benefited from our programmes