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Savar Disaster: Save the Children to Help Affected Children and Families

SAVAR, BANGLADESH--(Marketwired - Apr 26, 2013) - Save the Children and PLAN Bangladesh have committed themselves to assist children and families affected by the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Savar. The two organizations will work closely with Bangladeshi partner organizations and the responsible government authorities to support the ongoing relief efforts.

At least 290 people have died, 800 missing and over 3000 injured after the eight-storey building collapsed yesterday while many were at work. The Rana Complex building houses four garment factories, a bank and several commercial shops.

The number of people in the building at the time of the collapse is unclear, but it is estimated that more than 3000 people were employed by the garment factories in the building alone. Rescue teams have worked through the night using floodlights to break through the rubble and reach survivors.

Save the Children and PLAN Bangladesh expressed their shock and sadness at the heavy loss of life and the number of people injured in the disaster, and offered their condolences and sympathies to the victims and their families. The two organizations noted that children were among those who had been killed and injured, and that many more children will have lost one or both their parents.

Immediately following the tragedy, Save the Children and PLAN Bangladesh consulted with their NGO partners, who are on the ground in Savar. Together with local partners, the two organizations are intending to set up a help desk to offer assistance to separated children and others who are vulnerable as a result of this disaster.

Initial funding allocated by the two organizations totals 85 lakh, with additional funds available to meet needs as they are identified.

"Children are the most vulnerable from this situation because many are reported to be separated, traumatized and became orphan", said Michael McGrath, Country Director, Save the Children. He also stressed that we urgently need to develop effective plans and procedures for responding to urban disasters.

Save the Children has been working in Bangladesh for over 40 years, providing relief during and after the war for independence. The children's aid agency also responds to the frequent floods and cyclones that hit the country of 150 million people, and help children and their families prepare for future disasters. In the aftermath of Cyclone Sidr that hit Bangladesh in November 2007, Save the Children provided spaces for children to play, nutritious meals, temporary shelter for displaced families and classrooms for preschool children.