I. A MONTH IN REVIEW WHAT HAS HAPPENED?
On 7 and 19 September, 2017 Mexico was struck by two earthquakes of 8.2 and 7.1 magnitude on the Richter scale, respectively. The five main affected states were: Oaxaca, Chiapas, Mexico City, Puebla and Morelos. An estimated 7 million children live in these 5 states.
The earthquake of 7 September was followed by 8,054 aftershocks (two of which are of 6.1 magnitude) and the one on 19 September had 39.1 A month after the 19 September earthquake, children living in the most affected municipalities in the five states are still in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. After a rapid needs assessment by UNICEF staff in the five affected states, the top priorities of UNICEF’s Response plan are: 1) for children to be protected from violence, exploitation and abuse in shelters and public spaces of temporary refuge, as well as to be provided safe spaces and psychosocial support; 2) to promote educational continuity for children by advocating and supporting an early return to school and prevention of school drop-out; and 3) to ensure access to safe drinking water and adequate handwashing and sanitation facilities, as well as hygiene supplies.
These priorities were complemented one week after the initial response with actions on breastfeeding promotion, adolescent participation through U-report and advocacy initiatives on refocusing public financing for children affected by the earthquake.
UNICEF established alliances with key partners from government, civil society and the private sector to immediately establish 26 out of 38 planned child friendly spaces; train 162 teachers and 171 child friendly space facilitators with tools and strategies for psychosocial support for children; distribute 100 schools-in-a-box, 20 early childhood development (ECD) kits and 900 hygiene kits; as well as establishment of 100 temporary learning spaces for severely damaged schools. 700 adolescents and youth participated in the first week of U-Report polls and approximately 2,400 pregnant and lactating women were reached with messages on breastfeeding promotion in 600 shelters and aid collection points. To date, the total value of funds raised by UNICEF amount to US$ 1,100, 419.06, with a US$ 3,499,580.94 funding gap to implement the full response plan.
These actions are being implemented in 24 priority municipalities, identified after five rapid assessment missions of UNICEF staff to the affected areas in the first 24-72 hours after the earthquakes.