Mercy Corps and our partners are working to provide water, sanitation and hygiene solutions and protect children's emotional wellbeing following the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that struck Ya'an prefecture in Sichuan, on April 20th. The powerful quake caused extensive damage to homes, buildings, roads and water systems in the three counties of Lushan, Tianquan and Baoxing. The most recent estimates are that 2 million people have been displaced from their homes.
Mercy Corps' rapid assessment in Lushan County - within 24 hours of quake- indicated that preliminary shelter materials and basic food are being provided by the government. However, the earthquake, subsequent aftershocks, and resulting displacement means that thousands of families lack access to clean drinking water, adequate toilets and hygiene facilities. From past disasters, we know young children are especially vulnerable to the traumatic effects of disaster.
Mercy Corps supports the immediate post-disaster needs of the most vulnerable survivors as well as long-term resilience of the affected communities. This includes providing water, sanitation and hygiene supplies and services to the most affected families and protecting the emotional and social well-being of children and families through community-based child psychosocial support activities.
We will carry out a more detailed assessment of camps for the displaced, as well as other affected areas. We will develop sustainable, context-specific solutions such as hygiene training & promotion, appropriate water storage, water-source cleaning & rehabilitation, & latrine construction or rehabilitation. We are also assessing the needs of older youth to add our Moving Forward program, which uses sports & physical activity to promote teamwork, self-esteem and provide a healthy outlet.