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Four ways we responded to disasters in 2019

Four ways we responded to disasters in 2019

Your support helped us reach children caught up in disasters around the world.

Did you know that one in every four children is living in a country affected by conflict or disaster?

It’s a startling and deeply worrying statistic – and one that’s set to rise, as climate change increases the likelihood and severity of disasters in the years to come.

In this environment, our emergency response work is increasingly vital. In the last 12 months, your donations and support for our Children’s Emergency Fund have helped us respond to over 16 disasters, reaching children across Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

From distributing essential food, shelter and sanitary items to rebuilding schools, we know that when it comes to an emergency response, every second counts.

1. Ensuring dignity for girls and women

Today, over four million people have fled Venezuela to seek sanctuary in neighbouring countries. Hundreds of thousands more are expected to arrive before the end of the year.

Existing infrastructure and services have been overwhelmed by the scale of the exodus, leaving many Venezuelan families living in desperate conditions.

Plan International have been scaling up our response in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, including the distribution of dignity kits to ensure girls and women have the items they need to manage their periods safely:

With thousands of refugees still crossing the border every day, we’ll continue to respond to this humanitarian crisis for as long as we are needed.

2. Supporting girls to stay in school

Chenge and her grandmother in Zimbabwe
"I was regularly attending school until the cyclone. My books were soaked in the rains and I lost my school uniform. I stopped attending classes because I had no clothes or school fees." - Chenge, 16, Zimbabwe

In March 2019 Cyclone Idai hit Southern Africa, causing widespread devastation across Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe and affecting an estimated 1.5 million children.

When a disaster like this happens, the prospect of finishing secondary school can become a distant dream for many girls. But we know that for girls like Chenge, education is a lifeline.

That’s why, through our Education in Emergencies programme, we’ve been creating safe learning spaces across the region where girls and boys can continue their education.

In Zimbabwe we’ve also been repairing damaged school buildings, providing teaching and learning materials, and distributing dignity kits, back-to-school kits and uniforms to girls.

In 2019 we also celebrated a huge success. With your support, our work championing girls’ education in crisis helped to secure a UK Government funding announcement of £90 million to the Education Cannot Wait fund – a global fund dedicated to education in emergencies.  

3. Enabling families to lead their own recovery

A woman who has benefited from our cash transfer programme in Indonesia
In Indonesia, we've been providing cash and voucher assistance to families affected by the 2018 earthquake and tsunami.

2019 was the year we moved from our emergency response phase into our recovery phase in Central Sulawesi Province, Indonesia.

The area was struck by a series of strong earthquakes in September 2018, triggering a tsunami. This year, we were able to focus on rehabilitation and reconstruction, including working with a local bank to open accounts for people affected by the disaster. 

The bank also provided mobile ATMs in rural locations, enabling people to withdraw their money close to home.

This year we also reached more than 800 households in the area with cash-based assistance, enabling families to choose the support they need most urgently, from paying for house repairs to buying new kitchen utensils or re-establishing their livelihoods.

4. Creating space to enjoy childhood again

Akim and Lim’s childhoods haven’t been easy. They both fled South Sudan with their families and are now living in a refugee camp in Ethiopia. In their young lives they’ve already faced conflict and hunger. But here in the camp their friendship is blossoming.

Akim and Lim met at the child-friendly space we run in the camp, thanks to the support of players of the People’s Postcode Lottery. These are much-needed places where children can come to learn, play and have the chance to be children again.

Akim and Lim meet here every day. Their favourite things to do include playing football, drawing and reading together. As Akim says, “we feel happy and safe here.”


Help us reach even more children and their families affected by conflict and disaster