In the following days and weeks, supported by a massive public response, we mounted Concern’s largest emergency response in decades, pulling in everything we had. Within 24 hours, six charter planes of relief supplies were ordered and the first was being loaded.
Forty of our most experienced emergency staff were despatched, among them an expert on Google mapping to pinpoint where the more than one million displaced were living across the city. Hundreds of local staff were recruited and trained on how to do mass distributions.
Within a very short time, we had created a massive safety programme that supported and protected over 130,000 thousand people with clean water, shelter, cash for work, and grants for women to re-start small businesses, as well as establishing a network of nutrition centres and temporary classrooms across the city for thousands of children.
Earthquakes don’t just destroy buildings and livelihoods; they strip away the very fundamentals of dignity, safety and security.
Having survived, women and young girls in displaced sites across the city were increasingly being attacked at night. At an abandoned football stadium, Paul McCallion, an electrician from Donegal worked day and night to reconnect the stadiums flood lights.
When the lights were switched on, the most enormous cheer rose as thousands of women came out of the huts and danced and cheered. For the first time since the earthquake they felt safe.