After the earthquake
Verene Chua, Save the Children in Indonesia
On 2 July, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit Aceh. Houses, schools and public buildings all over Bener Meriah and Aceh Tengah districts collapsed in the tremors.
In the aftermath, Save the Children is setting up Child Friendly Spaces (CFSs) to help children relieve post-disaster stress and provide them with a safe space to continue learning and developing.
Dea, 12, was playing outside her home in Genting Bulen village, Aceh Tengah when the earthquake struck. “The land shook and I fell onto ground,” she tells us. “I ran to my house but saw that it had already collapsed. Fortunately, my family is safe, but I cannot stay in my house anymore.”
Dea and her family are now living in a temporary shelter the family built from wood and tarpaulin beside the rubble that was their home. In the daytime, she participates in song, games and colouring sessions at the nearby CFS Save the Children has set up in collaboration with Care Anak Gayo, a local volunteer group.
“I like to be here playing with volunteers,” says Dea. “They teach me drawing, how to read, colouring, and singing, and they gave me food.”
The earthquake has killed 42 people and affected over 52,000, including nearly 21,000 children.
According to Sigit Diharjo, Save the Children’s Child Protection Expert in Indonesia, “playing in camp is actually important for reducing the shock, fear and sadness among children affected by disasters. The activities will help the children be happier now and will enable them to carry on normally when they return to their villages.”
CFSs are one of Save the Children’s key programmes to protect children and help them continue learning and developing both during and immediately after an emergency. CFSs also help keep children safe during the day, allowing parents to focus on finding support and rebuilding their lives.
Save the Children is setting up activity tents, providing recreational kits, and training local volunteers to help children in Aceh Tengah and Bener Meriah.
Let’s give Dea the last word: “I like playing in the child-friendly space in camp because I meet many friends and it helps me to forget about the earthquake.”