‘We Will Not Give Up.’ Aid Workers in Indonesia Try to Reunite Hundreds of Kids with Families

As Indonesian authorities halt their search for bodies and begin the long recovery from a devastating earthquake and tsunami, humanitarian workers warn that around 300 children who survived the catastrophe remain separated from their families while almost half a million more urgently need assistance.

The 7.5-magnitude quake caused widespread destruction in the city of Palu, where the powerful temblor set off tidal waves and a dangerous phenomenon called liquefaction. At least 2,073 people have been confirmed dead and as many as 5,000 others are believed to be missing. More than 80,000 were displaced.

In the chaos that ensued, an estimated 300 children across affected areas were left either separated from their parents or unaccompanied by any adult relatives, according to the U.N. children’s agency, UNICEF. Although 74 children have been officially registered with the organization as missing, UNICEF Indonesia has partnered with a local branch of Save the Children, the country’s Ministry of Social Affairs, local police and a few smaller organizations to pool information about families that have been torn apart.

Read more: Indonesia Winds Down Search for Victims of Devastating Earthquake and Tsunami

As of Friday, just five registered cases of separated or unaccompanied children have resulted in reunification, while another is expected to be reunited soon, according to Save the Children. Akbar Halim, a child protection specialist for UNICEF Indonesia, said success is hard to measure when it comes to bringing fractured families back together in the wake of a disaster. “The numbers don’t really matter,” he told TIME, “I always tell people, ‘We can’t guarantee that we’ll bring back your child, but we’ll do the best we can.’”

“What I can say is that we never close a case,” he added. “Even if it takes 10 years, we will not give up.”

Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Rescue teams continue searching works …read more

Source:: Time – World


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