Responding to urgent needs of families and children in Attapeu

Friday 3 August 2018

Following the Government of Laos’ appeal for support, Save the Children in Laos finalized delivery of urgent disaster relief and recovery support to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs following flash floods in Attapeu triggered by the collapse of a dam in the south of the country. The flooding has claimed several lives, with over a hundred still missing and thousands seeking refuge in temporary evacuation centres. 

Save the Children will provide vital support to those most affected by this humanitarian crisis, with a specific focus on children and their mothers and families. In the first phase, infants and mothers will be provided with essential items such as baby clothes, towels, diapers, sarongs, underwear and pots for fetching water. Families will also receive kits with soap, toothpaste, sanitary pads, detergent and other personal hygiene products. An emergency response team from Save the Children is being deployed to Attapeu to support the government in the distribution and delivery of this key humanitarian assistance. 

The team will work in close coordination with local authorities to agree on the best way to set up corners in evacuation centres for pregnant and lactating mothers to have a safe space to attend to the needs of their families. In addition, Save the Children will coordinate with local authorities and other agencies to facilitate children’s access to psychosocial support. Child Friendly Spaces will offer a safe environment for children to play, socialise and express themselves as they cope with the upheaval of their lives. Save the Children will also support local authorities to organise Child Safeguarding systems to ensure all vulnerable children are safe from exploitation and harm. In the longer term, Save the Children will work with the Ministry of Education and Sports to rehabilitate schools affected by the flooding so that disruption to children’s education is minimised. 

In a short ceremony held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Save the Children’s Country Director Deborah Leaver said, “Save the Children is working closely with the Lao government to ensure that all children’s needs are prioritised. Children are especially vulnerable during a humanitarian emergency and face severe threats to their health, nutrition and safety, which can persist for months following any disaster. Our thoughts are with the victims of this tragedy and we stand by the Lao people to support the recovery from this tragedy.” 

Save the Children has been operating in Lao PDR since 1987 and works to ensure that children’s rights to education, health, protection and participation are fulfilled at all times, including during disasters.