Thousands of children flee homes, floods likely to get worse’, warns Save the Children.
At least six children have died and tens of thousands had to leave their homes in the devastating Jakarta floods – numbers that might increase with the peak of the rainy season still to come and high tides expected in the coming days, Save the Children warned today.
Save the Children has deployed a team of specialists to the area to assess the needs of children, in close cooperation with the authorities. The organization emphasizes that children are among the most vulnerable during crises, and that their safety must be a priority during the ongoing evacuations and in shelters.
Heavy nonstop rains over Jakarta since New Year’s Eve, one of the worst rainfalls ever recorded, have caused severe flooding in the capital and its satellite cities. In total, some 43 people have lost their lives and hundreds of thousands of people were affected, many of whom had to flee their homes. They are sheltered in some 270 evacuation sites.
Dino Satria, Humanitarian Director for Save the Children in Indonesia, emphasized the dire situation for the affected children:
“These devastating floods already have had a big impact on children, as they had to leave behind their homes and everything they love. But children are also impacted indirectly: school buildings are now used as shelters, while the school holiday is ending this week. That means some children run the risk of missing out on school. Save the Children will do all it can to ensure the school activities are not interrupted, suggesting to the local authorities to find solutions for displaced people who need shelter.”
“The danger is far from over, we fear that in the coming weeks the situation will get worse. It is feared that 8 of the thirteen rivers in Jakarta are overflowing, and the other five are at risk. Combined with the expected high tides, even more children and their families might need to be evacuated. The high waters might contaminate clean water resources, which could lead to the outbreak of diseases.
“We call on all involved to make sure children are kept safe and have a roof over their heads, and food to eat. Save the Children will support where needed to make sure this happens. We stand ready with school kits, tents which can be turned into learning centers and safe places for children to play, with materials to build shelters and hygiene kits to prevent the outbreak of diseases.”