Classes under canvas

PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 October, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 12 October, 2009, 12:00am

International aid poured into Padang, Indonesia, in the week after the city was hit by a 7.6-magnitude quake, with helpers bringing daily necessities and erecting temporary classrooms for children whose schools have been damaged.

The deadly quake struck off the western coast of Indonesia on September 30, killing more than 1,000 people and leaving half a million homeless, according to United Nations estimates.

Indonesia's National Disaster Management Agency says at least 179,600 houses have been damaged, while 40 per cent of power supplies remain disconnected. The Ministry of Health estimates 3,000 people are still trapped under buildings.

In the week following the quake, Unicef workers delivered water and medical supplies to Padang.

Helpers also erected 15 tents and donated teaching kits to provide temporary classes for about 5,000 children.

As of last Monday, local education officials reported that only about 68,000 children - 40 per cent of students in Padang city - had returned to classes.

Unicef said it was planning to erect 220 more classroom tents to help expedite class resumption and provide counselling for affected children in the coming weeks.

The Hong Kong Red Cross last week allocated HK$2 million to provide emergency relief for quake survivors. The group said it was preparing to send staff to assist in relief assessment and distribution.