Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Focusing on cyclone's youngest victims

We're focusing on cyclone's youngest victims says Save the Children

Save the Children is working against the clock to reach surviving children and their families left destitute in the wake of Cyclone Nargis.

Official figures put the death toll in Myanmar at 23,000, with around one million homeless. However, unofficial UN estimates claim the numbers are far greater, with 216,000 dead, around 220,000 missing and two million homeless. Save the Children believes 40% of those dead and missing are believed to be children.

Save the Children's local staff of 500, who normally work out of 35 local offices across Myanmar, have been mobilised to help with the emergency response, and have already managed to provide aid to around 80,000 people, more than a quarter of them children.

"It is now a race against time and our priority has to be those who are left," says Debbie Jack, Programmes Manager of Save the Children New Zealand.

"In emergencies such as this, children are hit hardest, and they are always one of our first priorities. There will be large numbers of children separated, orphaned and unaccompanied, at greater risk of exploitation, abuse and psychological distress. Expert education and protection staff are being assigned to focus on these issues.

"They will be setting up child-friendly spaces in all areas where cyclone victims have gathered, to encourage children traumatised by the disaster and its aftermath to play and join in activities that will help relieve psychosocial stress. We'll also be providing child protection training to others responding to the emergency.

"As well, Save the Children will play a lead role in tracing and reuniting children separated from their families as a result of the disaster. We will be working to identify them, assess and take action on their needs."

Meanwhile, conditions in Myanmar continue to deteriorate rapidly. Sanitation is likely to worsen as people are forced to shelter in large numbers, and water supplies remain limited. There are reports of population movements outwards to less affected areas as people go in search of basic necessities

"Obviously these factors will impact greatly on children and we need to scale up our response to avoid this turning into a major health emergency."

Save the Children has been operating in Myanmar for 13 years. It has been able to respond immediately to this disaster using funds already set aside that allowed it to begin distributing aid without delay. But more funds are urgently needed to scale up our emergency response.

Local staff have been working in the worst-hit areas, providing food, water purification tablets, plastic sheeting for shelter and protection, kitchen equipment and rehydration salts to those families whose homes have been destroyed. We are redeploying more staff from non-affected areas in Myanmar to enable us to increase the response in both Yangon and the delta.

"This has given us a good platform on which to launch our response. However, as the scale of the disaster becomes clearer, and the numbers affected continue to rise, we need to look at bringing in extra support and aid from outside Myanmar.

"We are currently anticipating the arrival of three shipments of aid into Yangon including tents, plastic sheeting and mosquito nets. The next phase will be the biggest logistical challenge as we strive to scale up our response."

Last week Save the Children launched a global $12 million appeal for the victims of Cyclone Nargis. If you would like to donate you can do so in several ways:

• Call Save the Children New Zealand's donation line: 0800 167 168 • Donate via our website: www.savethechildren.org.nz • Visit any one of Save the Children's shops across the country (visit the website to find the one closest to you) • Send a cheque, made out to Save the Children, to Freepost PO Box 6584, Marion Square, Wellington. Mark your envelope Myanmar and don't forget to add your name and address so we can supply a receipt.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Back Again: Government Approves TPP11 Mandate

The Government has approved a negotiating mandate for Trans-Pacific Partnership 11 (TPP11), which will ensure New Zealand businesses remain competitive in overseas markets.

Trade Minister Todd McClay says New Zealand will be pushing for the minimal number of changes possible to the original TPP agreement, something that the remaining TPP11 countries have agreed on. More>>




Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice. More>>


Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>


Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>


Treaty: Agreement In Principle Signed With Moriori

“The Crown acknowledges Moriori was left virtually landless from 1870, hindering its cultural, social and economic development. The Crown also acknowledges its contribution to the myths that the people of Moriori were racially inferior and became extinct." More>>


Susan Devoy: Call For Inquiry Into State Abuse Reaches UN

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy is in Geneva and has asked a United Nations committee to urge the New Zealand government to initiate an inquiry into the physical and sexual abuse of children and disabled people held in state institutions. More>>


(Not National): Cross-Party Agreement On Pike River Re-Entry

The commitment was signed this afternoon by the leaders of Labour, United Future, The Maori Party, and the Green Party and, together with the earlier commitment by New Zealand First, means that there is now a Parliamentary majority behind the families’ fight for truth and justice. More>>






Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election