New learning tool to engage children in disaster preparedness
Often seen as nothing more than victims in disasters, children in Asia actually have a vital role to play in community disaster risk reduction activities, according to a new "child-friendly" climate change report launched this week in Asia.
The 28-page report, called Climate Extreme: How young people can respond to disasters in a changing world, gives children in the developing world knowledge about how to prepare and reduce risks they could face when disasters impact their communities.
Presenting examples of crucial roles children have played in disaster preparedness, community education, hazard identification and in evacuation and first aid during disasters, the learning tool is a more digestible version of the 594-page of Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX), produced by a panel of climate experts.
“Children and young people have the right to
information that is tailored to them. Even complex scientific reports
should be converted to child and youth appropriate versions, if the
information is likely to affect them,” said Amalia Fawcett, the author
of the youth-friendly version and Plan Australia’s senior child rights
TAKING THE LEAD
There are many examples of girls and boys becoming actively involved in disaster risk reduction activates. Young people have lobbied their governments to get schools moved out of the path of potential landslides in the Philippines. Girls and boys in Bangladesh have carried out household visits and community assemblies to share their skills and knowledge on early warning and household preparedness with others.
A school safety program in India involves children in conducting risk and vulnerability assessments in more than 2,000 schools, while in Thailand youths are actively engaged in revising community based disaster risk management plans in flood affected areas.
“Children are so often referred to as ‘future decision makers’ at best and ‘victims of disasters’ at worst. While we must be sure they are appropriately supported and protected during disasters, part of that should be to recognise their role in the present, rather than continually looking solely at their future potential. Children and young people can make a difference now; they are not just the future, but the present as well,” added Fawcett.
Along with the IPCC report, Climate Extreme launches in New Delhi on May 3 and Bangkok on May 4.
3 May 2012