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ChildFund Responds to Emergencies
Aug 29, 2011


Drought Grips the Horn of Africa

Jake Lyell Photography

In eastern Africa, the worst drought since the 1950s has swept 12.4 million people into a cascade of effects that threaten their survival. Many live in three countries where ChildFund works: Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia. Food prices have soared, endangering families’ livelihoods and the nutritional status of children.

Working with local and governmental partners in all three countries, ChildFund is mobilizing to help. The governments of both Kenya and Ethiopia have declared their countries in a state of emergency, and ChildFund is partnering with several organizations in both countries to provide the needed aid, including immediate supplementary food support. Uganda has not yet approached crisis levels but is being carefully watched.

The greatest challenge of all is funding these efforts. You can make a difference now and help ChildFund help the children of the Horn of Africa by contributing to our Appeal.

Please send what you can to ChildFund Ireland, 63 Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2.
Freephone- 1800 22 10 10

Earthquake, Tsunami Impact Japan

A family walks past rubble after the earthquake and tsunami in Minamisanriku City, Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan.Credit: Reuters/Kyodo, courtesy Trust.org AlertNet

ChildFund is responding to assist children devastated by the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Latest: Relief items are being distributed in three prefectures (states) that were seriously damaged. ChildFund Japan has partnered with institutions in the area to maximize resources, coordinating with these entities to maintain a steady flow of emergency goods (rice, noodles, powdered milk, butane cartridges and other daily needs) and to avoid overlap or gaps. By meeting children’s basic needs, we help them strengthen their ability to cope and remain resilient in the face of these traumatic events.

Equally important, though, is the psychosocial support ChildFund will provide for the children who suffered the disasters and will continue to bear their long-term effects. ChildFund Japan will provide thousands of teachers with a manual created by ChildFund for use in emergency situations. In the aftermath of natural disasters, children’s universes are turned upside down, and they need to be able to talk about such stressful events in order to heal. It’s important to listen sensitively to children and help them understand what has happened. Teachers and caregivers can look to the manual for targeted, age-appropriate activities.

ChildFund Japan has sought our help so it can support earthquake- and tsunami-affected children as fully as possible through this crisis.

We, in turn, seek yours. Please donate now to help ChildFund care for Japan’s children, who have lost so much.

UPDATE 2011-05-18: Propagating Support

In recent weeks, ChildFund Japan has set up offices in several cities in Iwate Prefecture to continue providing emergency goods and volunteer services in the area. ChildFund Japan will concentrate its efforts in Iwate’s Ofunato City and other areas that were devastated by the tsunami, continuing support into the reconstruction phase.

The Girl Scouts of Japan have joined in the effort to distribute ChildFund’s manual for psychosocial care of children in emergency situations. Some 8,000 Girl Scout leaders now have the manual, which they intend to use in a grief camp they will hold jointly with the Boy Scouts of Japan.

ChildFund Japan also has begun an 18-month partnership with the Comprehensive Clinical Thanatology Research Center of the Japan Lutheran College Graduate School of Integrated Human Studies to offer a multi-session grief counseling program in Fukushima, Iwate and Miyagi prefectures. It will train professional responders who are in direct contact with those affected by the earthquake and tsunami.

UPDATE 2011-04-06: United and Strong

In Natori City, one of the hardest-hit areas in Miyagi prefecture, 1,800 people — including children — remain scattered among 17 evacuation centers.

On April 1, Japanese baseball great Kazunori Shinozuka and golf pro Chieko Amanuma volunteered their help with ChildFund Japan’s second delivery of relief goods from ChildFund Alliance to Natori City’s survivors of the earthquake and tsunami. Japan’s fondness for sports is legendary, and these two stars had come along with ChildFund Japan to help brighten spirits.

On their way to one evacuation center, Shinozuka and Amanuma met some teachers from another city who shared their experience of the disaster:

On that bright March afternoon, as dozens of schoolchildren practiced baseball and other sports in the schoolyard, the ground shook. Then came the roar.

Dropping all of their equipment where they were, teachers and students fled toward the roof of the nearest school building and reached it just before the tsunami washed everything else away.

“Everyone escaped to the water tank on the roof,” one teacher explained. “There were about 200 of us, and we had to spend a night. We really feared that we might not survive.”

The tale left the two athletes speechless — and added weight to the message Shinozuka gave when they reached the junior high school that for now serves as an evacuation center. “Today, we carried not only relief goods, but a warm feeling and messages from the world,” he told the 100 people gathered there. “Please understand that many countries sent us with the same message for you: We are with you! Let us be united and stay strong, for we will overcome and be on our feet again.”

Afterward, a venerable lady and longtime fan of Shinozuka’s stepped forward with tears in her eyes. “Thank you for your message,” she said to him, undoubtedly speaking for all present. “We are uplifted and given strength.”

Liberia Faces Heavy Influx of Refugees

After a decade of political instability, a recent spike in factional clashes in the Ivory Coast is increasing the daily influx of refugees into its neighboring nation, Liberia.

ChildFund Liberia is establishing child-friendly spaces for 500 children, while also protecting and tracing some 300 children to reunite them with their families and foster parents. ChildFund Liberia also is working to prevent and respond to child sexual exploitation and abuse among Ivorian refugees.

Our work to protect children whose lives have been disrupted is part of a wider process involving the Liberian government, international agencies and local nongovernmental organizations, associations and groups. ChildFund will work closely with UNICEF and take a leading child-protection role in designated areas.

ChildFund Liberia will also participate in local coordination meetings, facilitating conversations about program approaches and helping communities determine effective local and national strategies for improving child protection.

ChildFund Partners with Physicians for Peace in Haiti

ChildFund’s grant to Physicians for Peace will help fund additional prosthetics for children who suffered injuries.

(Photo: Roberto Westbrook for Physicians for Peace)

One year after a 7.0 earthquake devastated Haiti, ChildFund plans to award a $500,000 grant to Physicians for Peace. The grant will support the organization’s work in Haiti, funding custom-fitted prosthetics, medical equipment, a summer camp for children with disabilities or who have parents with disabilities, and many additional efforts.

The grant funds will help build long-term health care capacity and human resources in Haiti while meeting the immediate needs of those with disabilities, says Brig. Gen. Ron Sconyers (USAF, Ret.), president and CEO of Physicians for Peace. “Through programmes such as a summer camp, which will provide children with psychosocial care and the opportunity to engage with other children, the grant money will help Haitians in a comprehensive manner consistent with our core philosophy, to teach, empower and heal through sustainable initiatives.”

ChildFund’s focus is on keeping children on the pathway of development. Natural disasters such as the earthquake in Haiti create terrible situations that put already vulnerable children in grave danger.  Working with Physicians for Peace means that children and others with disabilities will receive the support they need, and it reinforces ChildFund’s commitment to creating positive outcomes and lasting change for vulnerable children.



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