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Save the Children Responds Urgently to Child Victims of Hurricane Harvey with Child-Friendly Spaces in Shelters, Essential Items

 

SAN ANTONIO, Aug. 28, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Tornadoes, lightning, heavy rain and flash floods related to Hurricane Harvey continue to put millions at risk, including nearly 3 million children.

Save the Children is on the ground responding to the needs of children and their families who have been forced from their homes and into emergency shelters. The organization will open its first child-friendly space by 3 p.m. E.T. today to help victims of the storm, and is planning to open more in the coming days. These spaces are safe, well-supervised areas within shelters where children can play, socialize and begin to recover from the disaster, while allowing their parents to concentrate on addressing the family’s immediate and longer-term needs.

The first child-friendly space will open in Kazen Middle School, in San Antonio, where hundreds of displaced families, including many with infants and toddlers, are seeking refuge. Save the Children is also providing shelters with portable cribs, strollers and infant and toddler

hygiene supplies such as plastic wash basins, baby shampoo and lotion.

“We’ve lost everything,” said Nick, a father of a 1-year-old boy and 2-year-old girl, staying with his family at the Kazen Middle School shelter. “We saw photos of our house destroyed, off its frame, with our belongings strewn around the yard. We used the last of our money to get to the evacuation buses- before they brought the cribs in, our children had to sleep on cots and almost fell off.”

“We are working as quickly as possible to help these children and families,” said Jeanne-Aimee De Marrais, Save the Children’s senior director of U.S. emergencies, who is leading the agency’s response in Texas. “We know from decades of experience that children are the most affected in the wake of emergencies and disasters, and often their needs fall through the cracks. Child-friendly spaces are hugely important in providing a safe place for kids to play away from the turmoil, to support their physical and emotional wellbeing.”

The state of Texas intends to establish up to three mega shelters, with the first one being in Houston, and then one in San Antonio, where all residents of the smaller shelters throughout the region will be consolidated. Save the Children will work to help ensure that children’s protection needs are prioritized and will seek to supply the shelters with materials to support children’s safety, health and hygiene and overall wellbeing.

In the coming days, Save the Children plans to expand its work to assist families outside the San Antonio area, and provide support to child care and early education programs damaged or destroyed by the storm.

To support Save the Children’s response efforts around Hurricane Harvey, please go to www.SavetheChildren.org or text Hurricane to 20222 to donate $25 to the Hurricane Harvey Children’s Relief Fund. (A $25 donation will be added to your mobile bill. Messaging & Data Rates May Apply. Terms:  www.hmgf.org/t. Privacy Policy: www.savethechildren.org/privacy.)

Save the Children gives children in the United States and around the world a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We invest in childhood — every day, in times of crisis and for our future. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Media Contacts:
Erin Taylor, etaylor@savechildren.org, 267.250.8829, @etaylor524
Jeremy Soulliere jsoulliere@savechildren.org, 203.295.5842, @soulles

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Sarah*, 2, peers out from her pack and play crib in San Antonio, Texas on August, 27, 2017. Save the Children distributed a variety of baby items to shelters in the San Antonio area, including the crib. Sarah's* family has been in the shelter now for four nights. They evacuated from Rockport where Hurricane Harvey made land fall. They have lost everything. *Names changed. Photo Credit: Susan Warner/Save the Children
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Rod Washington

Rod is a blogger, writer, filmmaker, photographer, daydreamer who likes to cook. Rod produces and directs the web series, CUPIC: Diary of an Investigator. He is also the editor, producer and administrator of TNC Network.

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