HKCU ramps up responses for psychosocial support to build a true haven for children affected

HKCU ramps up responses for psychosocial support to build a true haven for children affected


21 March 2011

The Japan Committee for UNICEF (JCU) has immediately provided targeted assistance, especially to children, on the ground through its network of partners and local partners in the aftermath of Japan’s triple catastrophe. According to JCU, disaster-affected children are in great need of psychosocial care. Child protection and health specialists from UNICEF have been deployed to Japan while the Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF (HKCU) has launched an appeal to assist in this critical phase of the relief operation. Funds raised for the relief efforts will go to building a child-friendly space and providing other child protection, education and psycho-social support through JCU.

A UNICEF field team were deployed to the affected prefectures last week in order to conduct an initial assessment and make critical decisions for the initial response, while UNICEF expertises in health, child protection and logistics from different country offices have been deployed to Japan to assist the relief operation. As of yesterday, 20 March 2011, half a million are living in evacuation centres. Among the evacuees, many children were unable to attend of their graduation ceremoniesheld in the affected areas yesterday.

Many disaster affected children are expected to be in great need of psychosocial careafter the traumatic experience in which they lost their family, friends, homes and learning opportunities.After discussion with local education department, JCU has decided to set upChild-Friendly Spaces (CFS) to provide psychosocial support to children and their families through supplies such as schoolinabox, recreation kits, Early Childhood Development kits. 10-20 sets of each kit and bulks of visibility materials will arrive at Narita Airport from Copenhagen Supply Division tomorrow afternoon and be distributed to shelters on 23 and 24 March. JCU Staff and UNICEF’sChief of Health from Somalia will meet with the education focal point at the Miyagi Prefectural Government to consult and assess the framework of cooperation today.

On last Friday, JCU sent 2 trucks loaded with 13 tonnes of water each to distribution centre in Miyagi Prefecture, while another 10 tonnes of water will arrive at the evacuation centres in Sendai and Miyagi today. Local populations in Japan are facing snow, rain and extraordinarily cold weather currently, many of which lack adequate clothing, blankets and heating. Essential supplies such as underwear, sanitary napkins, school bags, stationary and shoes are also in great need. 80 packs of diapers, 200,000 pieces of children’s under-wears will be distributed to all evacuation centres in Miyagi.

“Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF is working closely with JCU.According to colleagues from JCU, they have already raised 350million Japanese Yen for supporting the relief operation up until last Saturday (19 March). HKCU is going to ramp up responses to provide more support in children’s protection and psychosocial care,” said Ms Irene Chan, Chief Executive of Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF. “I hope Hong Kong people would all pass their blessings and contribute in building a haven for children affected in this triple catastrophe.”

The massive earthquake, tsunami and the nuclear crisis have claimed thousands of lives and caused damage on a massive scale. In all emergencies of such devastating magnitude, children are the most vulnerable. UNICEF offers support in the form of solidarity with the people of Japan in the aftermath of the unprecedented triple disaster.