15 year old Zaina and younger sister Lulu know they’re lucky to have survived the earthquake that hit West Java on 21 November 2022. Both were studying in class when it struck and managed to escape before their school buildings collapsed. Now living in an evacuation center, they’re recovering thanks to support from Plan International.
Many other children did not manage to escape the 5.6-magnitude earthquake that hit the Cianjur region in West Java, Indonesia at around 1:21 pm. More than a third of the 271 reported deaths are children. At one kindergarten school in the region, dozens of young children were killed when their class building collapsed on them.
“We were grateful because all the members of our family were safe, but our house had totally collapsed. It’s exactly the same as what had happened to our school buildings,” explains Zaina.“I don’t know when I can go back to school, our school has collapsed”
Together with thousands of other residents who lost their homes in the quake, Zaina and Lulu are now living in a crowded communal tent in an evacuation shelter, with 15 people in total. The families hope they will be allocated their own personal tents soon so they can set up in front of their damaged houses and protect their remaining possessions
Zaina’s mother Mia, 40, says that as well as the destruction of their family home, she and her husband have also lost their livelihood. “We have been working in the market as traders, but we cannot continue as the market building was destroyed by earthquake.”
Plan International’s emergency response team was quick to respond in West Java, distributing hygiene kits, food, and bottled water to affected children and their families. The response has since expanded to recovery programs including help for children who have lost their parents, psychosocial services, temporary learning facilities, and addressing child protection needs.
The shock of the quake is still fresh in Zaina and Lulu’s minds and the girls are scared that another earthquake will occur. But they are also hopeful they can soon return to school and continue their education with their friends.
“I keep thinking of the earthquake and my school building collapsing. I have many questions, when will we be able to return home? And how long will we have to live in a tent?,” asks Zaina.
Donate to our West Java earthquake appeal and help support children and families who have been impacted.
Watch Plan Indonesia Executive Director Dini Widiastuti on ABC News 24, talking about the devastating impact of the West Java (Indonesia) Earthquake on children and young people and how Plan International is responding (23 Nov 2022).