On Dec. 26, 2004, a devastating earthquake shook Indonesia, releasing energy that scientists estimate to be as strong as 23,000 Hiroshima-type atomic bombs. The earthquake's strength caused a series of powerful ocean waves to strike Indonesia, creating what some experts consider the most destructive tsunami in history. In total, more than 150,000 people were killed or missing after the natural disaster, while countless more Indonesians were left homeless.
The Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 brought to light Indonesia's consistent struggle with natural disasters. Various parts of the Southeast Asian archipelago are susceptible to cyclones, droughts, earthquakes, floods, landslides and volcanoes, according to the Earth Institute at Columbia University. In fact, between 1907 and 2004, about 235 of these natural disasters struck Indonesia, killing approximately 55,418 people and affecting countless more.
The southern and western islands of Indonesia, including Java and Sumatra, are at the highest risk of natural disasters; however, across all islands, it is frequently the most impoverished families who bear the brunt. Approximately 27 percent of Indonesians live below the poverty line, and when natural disasters strike, they tend to suffer the most. Without resources to recover and rebuild, it is easy for mothers and fathers to lose hope that they will be able to provide for their families and emerge from poverty.
When natural disasters strike, ChildFund strives to provide support and assistance. In Indonesia in particular, we have responded to natural disasters like the 2006 Yogyakarta earthquake, the 2008 Padang earthquake and the 2010 Mt. Merapi volcanic eruption.
During these times of crisis, one of our major goals is to ensure the health and well-being of the area's children. After natural disasters, such as those in Indonesia, we establish child protection programs that provide children with food and hygiene kits, and we set up Child Centered Spaces to give these children a safe, supportive environment.
Additionally, ChildFund actively supports the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response Project, a regional activity that helps nations like Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia prepare for natural disasters. In Indonesia, this involves reviewing the nation's policies and regulations on disaster management, creating a network with other agencies to develop stronger disaster risk reduction techniques, and resources mapping of all stakeholders in the country's disaster risk reduction efforts.
To help us in our mission to keep Indonesians safe and healthy after natural disasters, please consider making a donation to our ChildAlert Emergency Fund. With your support, we can lend a helping hand to children and families when they need it most.