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29 July - Indonesia today pledged to enhance the safety of more than 3,000 schools and 100 hospitals as part of its commitment to a global United Nations programme to bolster these structures, where poor construction can often lead to the highest death tolls during earthquakes and other disasters.

“No child must die because schools or hospitals are not safe when disaster happens,” said Margareta Wahlström, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction.

In April, the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) launched the One Million Safe Schools and Hospitals Campaign, which aims to raise public awareness and mobilize resources for a host of tasks ranging from repairing and retrofitting buildings to relocating to safer sites and constructing new safe ones where necessary, to purchasing safety equipment such as fire extinguishers and first aid kits.

Indonesia has experienced several large earthquakes in the past decade, as well as other hazards, such as volcanic eruptions, floods and drought. These disasters have claimed more than 160,000 lives and destroyed many hospitals and schools.

The recent magnitude-7.9 quake, which ravaged parts of western Sumatra last September, left nearly 200,000 households in need of emergency shelter and other assistance. Additionally, it damaged 270,000 buildings, including at least 3,500 classrooms and 85 hospitals and health facilities.

Senior Indonesian officials launched the country's campaign on safe schools and hospitals today, with the support of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). More than 200 participants representing the Government, civil society, schools and hospitals made pledges on the ISDR campaign's website to support efforts to bolster the resilience of schools and hospitals throughout the South-East Asian nation.