100,000 displaced by Japan quake: Save the Children

14th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Save the Children warned Monday that up to 100,000 children have been displaced following the earthquake and tsunami that have devastated large parts of the northeast coast of Japan.

Stephen McDonald, who is leading the British charity's response to the disaster, said: "We are extremely anxious that up to 100,000 children have been displaced because of last Friday's earthquake and tsunami.

"Their homes may have been destroyed and many of them will be sheltering in crowded evacuation centres.

"We can only imagine how frightening the experience of the last few days will have been for them.

"There is also a risk that some of them will have become separated from their parents and family members because of the disaster."

The quake -- the biggest in Japan's history -- struck off the coast of the country's main Honshu island Friday, triggering a 10-metre (33-foot) tsunami which swept away houses, trains and cars after slamming into the Pacific shoreline.

Save the Children said many young people had already talked to them of their fears of returning home, the fact that they were missing their friends and how desperate they were to go back to school.

The charity -- which launched a £1 million (1.2 million euros, $1.6 million) appeal on Friday to help children in Japan -- has several teams working in the country, including one in the coastal city of Sendai, one of the worst affected areas.

The teams are setting up a network of child-friendly spaces staffed by trained volunteers and furnished with toys and games, to help them recover from the trauma of the disaster, the charity said.

© 2011 AFP

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