21 November 2022 - Indonesia

INDONESIA - Children flee classrooms with at least one student among dozens killed as earthquake hits West Java

JAKARTA, 21 November 2022 – Children fled from their schools on Monday afternoon as a massive earthquake hit Indonesia’s main island of Java with more than 60 people reported killed, including one teacher and a student, and about 25 believe trapped in collapsed buildings, Save the Children said.

The earthquake of magnitude 5.6 was centred in Cianjur region of West Java province, triggering landslides and causing buildings to collapse, including schools where classes were underway.

Provisional data released by Indonesian authorities said there were about 51 education units affected,  including 30 elementary schools, 12 junior high schools, 1 high school, 5 vocational schools, and 1 special school.

Early reports showed one  teacher and one student died in the disaster with nine seriously injured, and 9 others slightly injured. Numbers of fatalities and injuries were changing rapidly.

 One of the schools involved in a Save the Children programme was affected by the earthquake with teacher Mia Saharosa describing what happened.

“It was a shock to all of us as it occurred in the middle of the learning process … We all gathered in the field, children were terrified and cried, worried about their families at home. We hug each other, strengthen each other, and continue to pray."

Selina Sumbung, CEO and Chairman of Save the Children Indonesia, said an emergency response team from Save the Children is heading to Cianjur early Tuesday to assess the initial impact of the disaster and determine the basic needs of children and families regarding health and nutrition, shelter and protection.

Save the Children is preparing school tents, back to school kits, educational recreation kits, and family hygiene kits to distribute.

In addition, Save the Children will collaborate with various Indonesia institutions and other humanitarian organisations to prepare a joint need assessment to identify the overall needs of people affected by the earthquake.

Children are one of the most vulnerable populations affected in disasters and can leave long lasting trauma. Save the Children plan to conduct a psychosocial first aid (PFA), to provide mental and psychological support for children.