Save the Children emergency statement: India Earthquake 19 Apr 2001
Almost three months after a devastating earthquake hit the western Indian State of Gujarat on 26th January national and international efforts continue with the process of reconstruction. As of 3rd April, the latest official figures show that 21 districts felt the impact of this disaster with Kachchh-Bhuj, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, and Jamnagar being worst hit. A total of 15.9 million people were affected; 20,0005 bodies were recovered and 66,812 people were injured. In addition, 358,000 houses were destroyed and 873,000 damaged. The estimated cost of overall damage is US$4.6 billion. Many people are still living in temporary tents, which are becoming unbearable as temperatures rise up to summer highs of 120 degrees and the monsoon season approaches. These people must rely on government agencies and other organisations to provide drinking water, kerosene for fuel and light and what, rice and other food stuffs. Children also need help to overcome the great losses they’ve sustained and to restore a sense of security and routine.
There have been reports of security incidents affecting local NGOs, some of whom are partners of international NGOs. The incidents reported have included threats to personnel and property. Save the Children (UK) remains alert to any signs of risks.
Key Issues for Children
- children lost members of their families in the earthquake
- children have lost homes
- many hospitals and health centres were destroyed leaving children and their families without access to essential health care services
- schools and child development centres were destroyed thus denying children opportunities for mental and social development
Save the Children's response
Immediately following the earthquake Save the Children (SC) in collaboration with our local partner Abiyan, distributed essential non food relief items such as tents, blankets, Jerrycans, and rolls of plastic sheeting. We are now in the process of reporting on the relief distributions that took place and making plans for the remaining stock of relief items.
Save the Children (SC) had previously identified a number of health centres for reconstruction as part of our programme of recovery. This activity is currently under review as a number of donors have since made significant new contributions of money. SC will likely assist dispensaries managed by the village or municipalities rather than State Government in areas where we are supporting other activities. This would involve helping to provide buildings and equipment for dispensaries.
The initial provision of start-up kits to re-establish Integrated Child Development Service Centres (ICDSCs) in villages where the ICDS building had been destroyed by the earthquake has been extended to provide start-up kits to a further 350 locations. SC UK will collaborate with UNICEF to include community mobilisation, training, and cash for work activities to construct permanent buildings. The ICDS centres are multipurpose centres for rehabilitation and providing care and protection for children and their families.
Save the Children (SC) assisted in a survey, which has shown a global malnutrition rate of 20.5% and a severe malnutrition rate of 2.8%. SC will be collaborating with WFP to provide effective nutrition support through the ICDS system. This will involve training of ICDS workers involved in supplementary feeding.
Emergencies Section, 19th April, 2001