Children capacity in disaster risk reduction: A call for action
Disasters have various physical, psychological, social and economical effects on all age group, particularly children who are more vulnerable than adults. In the aftermath of disasters, children like pregnant women, elderly and handicaps are special group with special needs. This is because they are at greater risk based on their specific physiological and psychological characteristics. Moreover,, according to the Sendai document, children need more attention in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)programs design, policies implementation with a proactive approach in Disaster Risk Reduction (1).
In the Sendai document it is emphasized that policies regarding disaster risk reduction, cognition and risk perception about the risk property should be considered based upon the hazards and the environment in terms of vulnerability, capacity and exposure (2).Hyogo framework for action was also already have been focused on child priority on the legislation program (3). Accordingly, it is necessary to involve children in disaster risk reduction programs actively in order to overcome their needs and their problems (4). As children are more affected groups in various aspects of disasters in most countries, their potential utilization, the conditions and space should be provided based on laws, national policies, training and capacity. Although after disaster children required particular needs and attention(5-6), they should be considered as an active group who could participate in DRR program and help their family and also the community.(4, 7)
Some evidences suggest on value of children team working for community preparedness. Iran had a successful experience for using adolescence capacity as a pillar in activation of early warning; including notification announced while observing the rising sea levels for local community in order to reduce the risk of flood disaster at a local area in the North of Iran.
According to the Hyogo and the Sendai documents, it seems that using capacity of community, particularly with focus on children in risk assessment, disaster risk reduction and disaster preparedness in communities are therefore much more important ever. To our best knowledge, due to scare studies in child capacity for disaster risk reduction it is necessary that researchers concentrate on further studies regarding how to use the children potential to reduce both natural and manmade disasters risk in forthcoming years.
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