The Devastating Effects of Earthquakes
Children from Guatemala observe their
destroyed houses after the earthquake that hit the country in November 2012,
affecting more than 1.3 million people.
natural disasters can match the destructive power of earthquakes. Often
striking with little notice, these events can reduce entire cities to rubble
in mere minutes and pose a significant threat to human life, sometimes
causing tsunamis in their aftermath. In addition to causing widespread
devastation and casualties, earthquakes can also disrupt a country's
infrastructure, making aid operations and rescue missions particularly
Many of the countries in
which ChildFund works are vulnerable to earthquakes, including Guatemala and India, and without the support of donors to our Emergency
Action Fund, it would be much more difficult to provide support to families
affected by these disasters.
Rebuilding in Guatemala
of last year, a
powerful earthquake struck Guatemala. Registering 7.2 magnitude, this
temblor destroyed homes, damaged roads and other vital infrastructure and
displaced thousands of families. We worked closely with Guatemala's National
Emergency Committee to provide disaster relief to families affected by the
quake, and in the weeks following the disaster, helped rebuild homes and
provided emergency relief to children in need and their families.
addition to the serious physical danger posed by earthquakes, emotional and
psychological scars can last a lifetime for children if these issues aren't
addressed. Without timely psychosocial support, children can suffer from a
range of mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder.
"I felt that we were going to die," said Maria, a 12-year-old girl
living in San Andres Chapil in San Marcos, a community affected by the
Guatemalan quake. "I saw how my house was falling down. We were lucky it was
during the day; if it had been at night, only God knows what would have
Following the disaster, ChildFund worked to ensure that
children and their families could
rebuild their lives. We helped repair 429 homes and reconstruct an
additional 124 houses, repaired or restored 25 community hygiene and sanitation
systems, and provided psychosocial support to more than 12,500 children. None
of this would have been possible without donations to the ChildFund Emergency
Action Fund, which allows us to focus funding where it's needed after a
Providing Urgent Aid
One of our primary objectives in
countries affected by natural disasters like earthquakes is to provide
families with the supplies and support they need in the days and weeks
following a disaster.
The first few hours and days after an
earthquake are crucial. The longer it takes to provide aid to families
affected by these disasters, the greater the likelihood that children and
their families will suffer or die. This is why ChildFund's Emergency Action Fund is so important. By
making a donation to this fund, you can help us distribute aid, such as
food, clean water, blankets and other essentials, to those who need it most.
In addition, your generosity will enable us to provide health care services,
including psychosocial support, to children in need affected by earthquakes
and other disasters.
One of the first things ChildFund does when
a disaster strikes is work with our local partner organizations to account
for the children enrolled in child sponsorship and other programs. At this
point, we strategize how our resources can be used most effectively and
begin operations to distribute emergency relief and support to affected
families. Within 72 hours of a disaster, we establish child-centered spaces
where children can recover from their ordeal and begin to process their
feelings about the event. In the long term, we help rebuild homes and other
structures, often with support that will help them withstand future
earthquakes or floods.
The Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention has designated September as National
Preparedness Month, so there has never been a better time to make a
donation to ChildFund's Emergency Action Fund and allow us to provide aid to
those who need it most in the wake of natural disasters.