Disaster Risk Reduction and Children

Though we are leading a modern life with all technology and inventions, natural hazards can wipe everything within seconds. It is the serious disruption of the functioning of the community or a society causing widespread human, material, economic or environmental losses which exceed the ability of the affected community or society to cope with its own resources. These are the naturally occurring phenomenon caused by rapid or slow onset of events. Every year millions of children are getting affected by disasters.

 Children will suffer from great emotional trauma and require psycho-affective needs such as love, recreation, and play. According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the child, they have the right to be the first to receive attention during emergencies. But they will experience fear, violence, separation from parents and caregivers, exploitation, and abuse. These are risk factors that they are suffering after a disaster. Some disasters may lead to homelessness and poverty.

We have to create safe environment for children. The Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005-2015, building the Resilience of Nature and Communities to disasters, adopted at the World Conference on disaster reduction underlines the importance of knowledge and education as one of its main five priorities. It draws attention to school children and youth with the aim of making the community at large more aware of the threats of hazards and become better prepared.

 School safety is the creation of safe environments for children starting from their homes to their schools and back. The Right to Education guarantees free and compulsory education to all the children in the country regarding “all-weather buildings”. For example, the difficulty of terrain, floods, etc. Children should be taught to take emergency action during such situations.

The RTE act serves as a strong base for promoting school safety. The framework of implementation of RTE-SSA has a strong focus on disaster management. The National Disaster Management Act, 2005 mandates the State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMA) to provide guidelines to different departments to prevent disasters. Awareness must be provided to all to reduce disaster risk through systematic efforts to analyse and reduce the causal factors. UNESCO is taking an initiative to advocate all across the broad for risk awareness and prevention of disasters.

According to the UNESCO strategies, the Sendai Framework of action 2013-2015, the following key pillars for disaster risk reduction can mention as we should have to Understand the risk of disaster, need strengthen disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk with the perfect plan, clear vision, competence, guidance and coordination are needed, need to invest in disaster risk reduction resilience awareness and enhance disaster preparedness for effective response and to Build back better training to all children without no barriers.

We NILA team through the Project aimed to provide disaster management training students in schools with demonstration and support from the Department of Fire Rescue from the State of Kerala to launch the programme and mob sessions to school children to support their Resiliency and awareness.

Through this project, students can represent valuable resources to nurture and mobilize for disaster preparedness, response, recovery and resilience at individual, family and community levels. And they can enhance personal development and skills, self-efficacy and interpersonal relationship through improved social connections and network and disaster preparedness by engaging children in collaborative activities and decision making exposing them to multiple perspectives and critical deliberations.

It also helps children to take analytic and problem-solving approaches, strategic planning, and social development.

Thus we are can come to the conclusion by involving children in disaster risk reduction. They are the future generation and it is our responsibility to make them a part of all such activities.

Adithya Mohan

Social Coach – School Division


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