This year’s Allianz World Run raised half a million euros that was invested in emergency preparedness packages for 10 Children’s Villages in risk areas across the world. The packages help staff to build up coping mechanisms in the areas of child protection, water treatment, medical equipment, power supply and even psychological counseling, should a disaster strike. They also include supplies such as breathing masks, flash lights, clean drinking water and instant foods, among other items.
One of the pilot villages is located in Quito, at the foothills of the Cotopaxi volcano. The risk of an eruption hangs over those living in the surrounding area, all the time. The volcano has shown moderate levels of activity for the past decades, with two major earthquakes in 1999 and 2016.
Fifteen-year-old Milena, who studies at the SOS Children’s Village school, is yet to forget her experience with an earthquake in 2016. “It was April 16, exactly at 5:48 PM – I checked the time after leaving the classroom. Suddenly, I felt dizzy and my friend Isabel grabbed my arm. We were still for a few seconds until we realized that it was the floor that was shaking. The school siren went off. We had learnt in drills that we should move to open areas like the playground. Everything happened so fast. It felt like a bad dream.”