Rapid Response:
Rapid response assemblies are provided on the site when there is an event in the news, good or bad, that touches children's lives, so we can offer you a way to acknowledge it in your collective worship.


By Gordon Lamont

Suitable for KS2



To provide an opportunity for the school to acknowledge the tragedy. To mark it as something of concern to all. To consider appropriate responses.

Preparation and materials


Be aware of any children who might have relatives in the affected areas or who could know someone directly affected by the tragedy.

You will need two readers for the meditation – either staff or pupils.

Note that this is an emerging news story so please check any facts with a reputable source such as bbc.co.uk/news.

  1. Talk about the earthquake and ask the children what they know of it. Recap on the basic facts:

    An earthquake occurred in an area where lots of people live, near the southern coast of the Indonesian island of Java. This happened late at night, our time, on Friday – very early in the morning in Indonesia.

    At the time of writing it is thought that more than 5,000 people have been killed with thousands more injured.

    The United Nations has a disaster response team ready to help. Many countries have promised aid including Japan, Russia and the European Union. Britain has offered three million pounds to help but the airport on the island is closed because of quake damage. The failure of electricity makes communication difficult so, although the money has been offered, getting the right help to the right people will not be easy.
  2. If appropriate, read some quotes from people involved:

    I was jarred awake by my entire house shaking. My large bed was jumping inches from side to side and small debris was falling from the roof.

    After the quake, I went outside to try to find my friends. After getting my bearings I went down to the nearest hospital to offer help. I spent most of the rest of my day there. There were hundreds of broken bones and many head wounds. There were no deaths that I was aware of but there may have been some people worse off inside. The medical staff at this particular hospital must be congratulated.
    Kevin Freedman, 25, Yogyakarta

    I’m still in a state of shock, more than 12 hours after the earthquake.

    At 0555 this morning, I was awoken by terrible noise and shaking. My wife, my son and I ran outside into the street. It was very frightening. I have lived here for 18 years and never experienced anything like that. We thought it was a volcano eruption to the north as that has been very active recently. The streets were full of other people who had run out of their houses in fear.

    The electricity is out, but we do have food and candles, for now. It’s going to be a real mess. We’re just happy to be alive.
    Vincent Meyer, 42, Yogyakarta
  3. Ask the children to close their eyes and think about the following words. They can be read by the assembly leader and another teacher or by two older pupils. Teach the response, ‘We think of them’, to follow the words, ‘Think of them’.

    One:       Think of all the people who have lost their families, their friends, their homes. Think of them.

    :         We think of them.

    Two:      Think of the workers, helping to rescue people, working all day and all night, coming from many different countries to help. Think of them.

    All:         We think of them.

    One:       Think of the survivors who feel frightened and lost. Think of them.

    All:         We think of them.

    Two:      Think of people all over the world sending money, offering to help, saying prayers. Think of them.

    All:         We think of them.

    One:       Think of people, just like us, wondering if we can help – wondering, ‘What can I do?’ Think of them.

    All:         We think of them.

  4. End with a reminder that earthquakes like this do not happen in our part of the world. We can be happy about this but perhaps it should make us keener to help those less fortunate.

Suggested song


‘When I needed a neighbour’ (Come and Praise, 65)





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