ARC calls on the State to take urgent steps to ensure safety and security at Kudakudhinge Hiya, which currently houses less than 15 children between the ages of 13 and 18. With reference to the fire incident that occurred today in one of the children’s rooms on the first floor of the building which caused damage to furniture, goods and other items beyond repair; ARC calls on relevant authorities to investigate the cause of the fire and conduct a fire and safety audit of the institution to ensure that similar incidents do not recur.
This particular incident adds on to a series of recent negative events at Kudakudhinge Hiya, which is a result of a numerous issues within the Shelter, including the failure to adequately manage the facility and address the needs of children, which have been further exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. ARC has brought several of these issues to the attention of State agencies as well as independent institutions on various occasions.
ARC firmly believes that it is essential for all care workers and staff at all Shelters to undergo fire safety trainings in order to ensure a safe environment for children under State care. Additionally, maintaining fire and safety equipment at the Shelters is also of equal importance. ARC has been conducting several educational and recreational programmes for children; and capacity building trainings for staff, including fire safety awareness, first aid, emergency preparedness and medical first response programmes since 2010.