Save the Children – Anniversary of Oklahoma Tornadoes

Save the Children needs your support to draw attention to the often overlooked needs of children in disaster – and to inspire more people to prepare ahead of time.  We can all do more to protect children before disaster strikes.  That is the goal of our “Get Ready Get Safe” initiative.  
 
Assets:
 
Here you will find a slide show with Save the Children’s  inspirational champions for children from the Oklahoma tornadoes.

 

  • The “our champions” button takes you to their storify page with full captions.  Direct link to this page is:  http://www.savethechildren.org/site/c.8rKLIXMGIpI4E/b.9124485/k.429F/Get_Ready_Get_Safe_Oklahoma_Storify.htm
  • Toward the bottom of this page you will find a video playlist.  Please help them share the first video, which is a dramatic story of rescue and resilience at one Moore, OK child care center.  Child care centers often don’t qualify for any official recovery assistance, even though they are vital to children, families and communities in the wake of a disaster.
  • Direct link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PL5r9JTlp4xXWrienVxWBopkcBaMuvGe9q&v=rpLj-gGKxco
  • If you click on the “Be a champion” button you will find their resources page with disaster planning checklists for families and your children’s caregivers.  Please help them get people to take action. The page is also found at www.savethechildren.org/checklists  and you can grab the images of the checklists there.  There are also 10 tips fact sheets on protecting children from tornadoes and other disasters.
  • Press release will be updated on May 13 with a special celebrity announcement (look for it!) and probably again on May 19 right before the anniversary.
Save the Children's Newest Ambassador
As Save the Children’s new ambassador for its “Get Ready Get Safe” initiative, Lassie visited Moore, Okla., to help show children preparedness can make them feel safe, not scared. Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images
Champion for Children
Nancy Goodrich’s strong commitment to emergency preparedness at her Moore, Okla., child-care center protected dozens of children from harm during last year’s tornadoes. Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images

 

 
What can people do?

 

 

 
 
Save the Children’s Oklahoma tornadoes response
Save the Children mounted an immediate response in Oklahoma, and our long-term recovery work continues today.  In all, we’ve reached more than 18,000 people – more than half of them children.  We set up child-friendly spaces in shelters where children could play and start to recover, helped children attend summer camps to find a happy routine amidst the post-tornado chaos, helped restore and open 35 child care centers that were damaged or destroyed – and brought our Journey of Hope program into the schools.  This emotional recovery program lets children discuss their emotions in a supportive group setting and learn critical coping skills.  Finally, we are conducting our “Get Ready Get Safe” workshops and trainings in schools and child centers to boost emergency preparedness and help children see that preparedness can help them feel safe not scared.  Our full progress report is linked on the landing page and available here:  http://www.savethechildren.org/atf/cf/%7B9def2ebe-10ae-432c-9bd0-df91d2eba74a%7D/SAVE_THE_CHILDREN_OKLAHOMA_TORNADOES_ONE-YEAR_REPORT.PDF
 
Save the Children also responding to recent tornadoes in Mississippi
In late April, 117 tornadoes tore through the Midwest and the south.  At least 37 people died, including 14 In Mississippi alone.  Save the Children is responding in Tupelo and Louisville, where low-income housing projects and a number of child care centers were totally destroyed or severely damaged – leaving many already disadvantaged children extremely vulnerable. 
 
Destiny’s Day Care in Louisville is one of the destroyed centers we have helped reopen.  When the tornado came, two caregivers and two little sisters were in the center.  The caregivers huddled with the children – 9 months and 4 years old – in the bathtub and tried to shield them with their bodies.  But then the tornado barreled through the center and lifted the bathtub into the air and smashing it down.  One caregiver, Marcus, felt himself being sucked across the debris by the tornado and then it stopped.  He saw his colleague and the 4-year-old appeared to be okay, but the 9-month old was missing.  Although a brick had smashed Marcus’s head, leaving a hole in his skull, he knew he had to find the baby.  Then he heard her weak whimper and he knew she was alive under the debris.  He prayed for her to make another sound and when she did, he was able to find her and pull her out.  He carried her half a mile through destruction to find someone who could drive them to the hospital.  His heroic actions got the baby – Za’toriah, the urgent care she needed.  Today, she is healing from a head wound and has a broken leg.  But she is back in day care!  Save the Children is helping restock the new temporary location with all the items Za’toriah and 35 other children need to help them continue learning in a safe, nurturing environment.

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