Aid workers from Save the Children will mobilise staff to meet the needs of children and their families affected by last night’s earthquake in New Zealand if there is a need for a humanitarian response.

The powerful 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck approximately 50kms north-east of Christchurch and was felt across the country. A tsunami warning is in place and residents in low-lying areas have been urged to evacuate.

Save the Children’s CEO Heather Hayden in Wellington said, “The full extent of the earthquake damage is still emerging but we know from previous experience in earthquakes how badly effected children can be from natural disasters like this.  It will be important for parents and care-givers to allow children to express their feelings about the earthquake they lived through.  

As we have done in other disasters we may look at establishing what’s known as child friendly spaces.  Child friendly spaces can improve children’s psychosocial wellbeing by helping to re-establish routine, provide support and a sense of stability, as well as an opportunity to play. The spaces also provide respite for families under stress, so parents can focus on re-establishing their livelihoods knowing their children are in safe hands." 

“We strive to support children in disasters like earthquakes, we did it following the last Christchurch earthquake and we will do it again if there is a need to now”, added Ms Hayden.