I. SIX MONTHS IN REVIEW: From Response to Early Recovery
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 main affected states were Oaxaca, Chiapas, Mexico City, Puebla and Morelos. An estimated 7 million children live in these 5 states.
Six months after the earthquakes, children living in the most affected municipalities in the five states have gradually returned to their normal lives; however not all of them have returned to school.
UNICEF’s response plan during September-December 2017, focused on: 1) protecting children from violence, exploitation and abuse shelters, public spaces and temporary refuges as well as providing safe spaces and psychosocial support; 2) promoting educational continuity for children by advocating and supporting an early return to school and prevention of school drop-out; and 3) ensuring access to adequate hand-washing and sanitation facilities, as well as hygiene supplies. These priorities were complemented with actions on breastfeeding promotion, adolescent participation through U-report and advocacy initiatives on refocusing public financing for children affected by the earthquake.
Accumulated achievements include: 21 child-friendly spaces that remain operational and the number of tents for temporary learning spaces delivered has increased to 514, reaching 20,560 children. 810 school-in-a-box have been distributed benefiting 32,400 students; and 139 early childhood development (ECD) kits distributed benefiting at least 2,085 children under 5 years of age. In total, 5,962 teachers have been trained on psychosocial skills both directly and indirectly. In addition, UNICEF distributed 3,579 hygiene kits. The Water, Sanitation aand ne (WASH) in-depth needs assessment was finished, and a full report is available. With regards to health and nutrition activities, focus has been put on disseminating information and generating capacities among health workers on the importance of continued breastfeeding during emergency situations. In addition, UNICEF and Hygiene (WASH) in-depth needs assessment was finished, and a full report is available. With regards to health and nutrition activities, focus has been put on disseminating information and generating capacities among health workers on the importance of continued breastfeeding during emergency situations. Alongside the distribution of material and technical support, child and adolescent participation was also identified as an important part of the process, giving way to 900 adolescents and youth to participate in U-Report polls on identification of affected populations; general health and mental health issues; return to school; role of adolescents during the emergency; and information on what to do before and after an earthquake.
In December 2017, UNICEF developed an Early Recovery Plan, which started its implementation in January 2018 for an initial duration of six months, expanding some actions to Guerrero and Estado de México. This plan aims to:
• Prevent school dropout due to delayed return to school and establish a monitoring system of out-of-school children after the emergency;
• Train adolescents in extending psycho-emotional support to their peers; maintain a steady support for the psycho emotional recovery of earthquake-affected children;
• Continue to install bathrooms, hand-washing stations and safe drinking water facilities in temporary learning spaces; advocate to maintain sanitary conditions in shelters, particularly in Oaxaca;
• Strengthen local capacities in disaster risk reduction;
• Advocate for strengthened social protection schemes, which are child-focused;
• Conduct a sectoral assessment of child protection measures and institutional response in affected states; and
• Train partners on the child-friendly spaces methodology and government counterparts (health personnel) on the importance of continued breastfeeding in emergency situations.
Three months into the implementation of the Early Recovery Plan, activities are ongoing as expected.
For such purposes, UNICEF has established alliances with key partners from government, civil society and the private sector.
To date, the total value of funds raised by UNICEF amount to US$ 7,620,636.64, which surpassed the total ask (response + recovery plans) of US$ 6.6 million.