News / Asia

Children Take Disaster Risk Reduction Into Their Own Hands

Lisa Schlein

Child activists attending a Conference on Global Disaster Risk Reduction are urging governments to endorse an action plan to minimize the impacts of natural disasters on their lives. More than 600 children in 21 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America were consulted by child advocacy organizations in the development of the so-called Children’s Charter for Disaster Risk Reduction, which will be presented to those taking part in the conference.  

The aim of the charter is to raise awareness about the need to put children at the heart of disaster risk reduction as they are among those who suffer most from catastrophic events.

The statistics are grim. The United Nations reports about half of all people affected or killed by disasters are children.  It estimates 175 million children are likely to be affected by climate-related disasters each year.  And this number probably will rise as the frequency and intensity of natural disasters increases.

Goodwill Ambassador for the U.N. Children’s Fund Agnes Chang was in Tokyo when the earthquake and tsunami struck the northeastern coast of Japan on March 11.   

She says in the three worst affected prefectures - Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate - 378 children died, and 191 went missing.  She says most children survived because the tsunami struck when they were at school.

“But how come these children are saved.  How did they survive?  I think there are two reasons," Chang said. "One is because of the safe school structure.  And the second reason is because of the preparedness of the school.  The schools are well-prepared.  Manuals are provided to educators on the basis of preparedness, and regular drills are compulsory.  Disaster-appropriate drills are done regularly at school, at all schools, all over Japan.”  

Relatively few children died in Japan because of preparedness.  Compare this with the 2008 Szechuan earthquake, which killed more than 9,000 children.  These deaths are blamed on the shoddy construction of the schools in the region.  

Tricia, a young activist, comes from a disaster-prone country.  The Philippines is subject to typhoons, earthquakes, storm surges, landslides, flash floods and other disasters.  She has seen the destruction and suffering resulting from such catastrophic events.  

She tells representatives attending a special roundtable on Children for Resilience that children can do a great deal to reduce risks and save lives.   

“Disaster reduction education is important since it raises the awareness to children and children could play a very big role in disaster risk reduction…The children must have the knowledge on what to do and how to respond to these disasters," Tricia said. "We play a very big role for the future and we have opinions that we feel should be heard.  I believe, too, that we can do so much more than the adults can.  So I hope all the people here today will prioritize and help the children and sign the Children’s Charter pledge for the children.”   

The main points of the Charter include the need to make schools safe; to protect children before, during and after a disaster; to give children the information they need; to build safe infrastructure; and to make sure disaster risk reduction reaches the most vulnerable people.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine Could Be in Use by January

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid