Education International expresses its continued solidarity with the victims of the massive earthquake that struck Sichuan on May 12th.
Recent figures put the death toll from the disaster at 70,000 with more than 11,000 children and teachers killed as 7,000 schools across the province collapsed. The collapse of so many schools has led to speculation on sub-standard construction of school buildings and the government has promised a full investigation amid parents’ anger.
After extensive rescue operations, authorities and aid agencies are intent on safe-guarding survivors in the affected areas from post-earthquake flooding, as well as establishing some degree of normalcy for the 5 million people displaced by the disaster.
Amongst the international organisations working on the ground, UNICEF, World Vision, Save the Children and Action Aid have placed a high priority on education.
Estimates indicate that nearly 3 million children have been affected by the earthquake. Allowing these children to resume school will help them to get back into a normal routine and to recover from the traumatic experience.
Education International has no affiliates in mainland China, but encourages its other member organisations to support the efforts of the authorities and aid agencies to establish interim education arrangements for children affected by the earthquake.
Education International recognises the actions of teachers across the region in caring for and supporting their students in the aftermath of the disaster.