World Vision feeds children displaced in tsunami chaos

World Vision has started delivering aid, assessing damage and providing emergency meals to help some of the one million-plus children estimated to be among those who survived Friday’s devastating earthquake and tsunami in Salawesi, Indonesia.

World Vision Chief Advocate Tim Costello said local staff were drawing on pre-positioned emergency supplies to provide life-saving aid such as tarpaulins, cooking utensils and blankets to as many as possible of the 300,000 people estimated to have been displaced in the disaster.

“We’ve set up an Emergency Feeding Centre for children in our regional headquarters in Palu and are doing all we can to meet the community’s most urgent needs, especially the children who are always the most vulnerable in times of such upheaval Mr Costello said.

Australia’s largest international humanitarian agency, World Vision Australia today launched an appeal for the millions affected by the devastation as the organisation rushes to provide emergency assistance. Some of the families which World Vision are helping have lost everything.

“Clearly this is going to require a massive response for some time to come but making sure that survivors have their immediate needs met with adequate shelter, food and water will be critical over the coming days and weeks,” Mr Costello said.

“We are deeply concerned about the impact of this on children, who are having to cope with terror of aftershocks and struggling to cope with the uncertainty and loss of loved ones.

Local teams are already on the ground, working to help children and families who have lost everything. World Vision expects to focus its disaster response on food, shelter, nutrition, child protection, and water and sanitation.

WV Indonesia staff on the ground – hampered by seriously damaged communication and road networks – are also attempting to locate the more than 1650 children sponsored by Australian families in the region affected by the quake.

Humanitarian aid experts with WV Indonesia are also deploying to assess the scale of the disaster and to expand aid operations.

Sulawesi zone manager Radika Pinto deployed into Palu reported widespread destruction and chaos: “Many of the buildings are cracked and have collapsed. Staff reported seeing a coastline marked with devastation caused by the tsunami. Hundreds of people have been injured. 

Most people are building makeshift shelters in the hills away from the water because they are terrified of another tsunami. Many people are hungry. Clean drinking water is also a huge need because the water pipelines are broken.”

Australians are invited to donate to World Vision Australia’s Indonesia Earthquake and Tsunami Appeal

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