Save the Children child protection teams are visiting camps, shelters, and communities across Haiti's earthquake zone to ensure the safety of children and to help unaccompanied children be reunited with relatives whenever possible.
"Children are particularly vulnerable right now and we must do everything possible to ensure their safety and wellbeing, especially when they may have lost or been separated from relatives who were caring for them," said Annie Foster, Save the Children's emergency response team leader in Haiti. "Save the Children is giving children in camps and shelters safe places to play and get support in recovering from the hardships they've experienced. At the same time, we're actively setting up systems to locate and reunite unaccompanied children with family members."
Save the Children has already established six child friendly spaces at camps and shelters in Port-au-Prince and Jacmel and will open more in the days to come.
About 50 trained social workers, staff and affiliated personnel trained by Save the Children are now identifying locations where unaccompanied children have taken refuge. These child protection specialists are working with community leaders to ensure the safety of the children during the family reunification process. Save the Children is working with the Haitian government and others to establish a wide-reaching system to identify separated children and reunite them with family members.
There are great opportunities to reunite children with loving relatives in the days to come. Many children were not with their families at the time the earthquake struck because they were in school or pursuing work or other activities. Others may have become separated from parents now receiving medical attention in a different area. Some children are left temporarily unaccompanied while parents search for food and work. Save the Children is committed to identifying these children and protecting their safety, while working to reunite Haitian families.
Save the Children has also reached more than 85,000 people through mobile health teams and distribution of medical supplies, and the agency is distributing hygiene and household supplies such as soap, towels, Jerry cans to hold water, and plastic sheeting for shelter needs. Save the Children has worked in Haiti since 1978 and currently has more than 200 staff in the country.
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