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J Inj Violence Res. 2017 January; 9(1): 69–70.
PMCID: PMC5279994

Children capacity in disaster risk reduction: a call for action

Leila Mohammadinia, a , b , c Davoud Khorasani-Zavareh, d , e , f ,* and Ali Ardalan a , b , g

Disasters have various physical, psychological, social and economical effects on all age groups, particularly chil-dren who are more vulnerable than adults. In the after-math of disasters, children, just like pregnant women, elderly and the disabled, are a special group with spe-cial needs. This is because they are at greater risk based on their specific physiological and psychological characteristics. Moreover, according to the Sendai docu-ment, children need to be taken more into account in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) program design, and poli-cy implementation should have a proactive approach.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 The Hyogo framework for action has also already focused on child priority in the legislation program. 3 Accordingly, it is necessary to actively involve children in disaster risk reduction programs in order to overcome their needs and their problems. 4As children are more affected groups in various aspects of disasters in most countries, one should bear in mind their potential utilization and the conditions and space should be provided based on laws, national policies, training and capacity. Although after a disaster, children have particular needs and require attention, 5,6they should be considered as an active group who could participate in the DRR program and help their family and also the community.4,7

Some evidence suggests the value of children team working for community preparedness. Iran has had successful experience from using adolescent capacity as a pillar in activation of early warning; this has included providing notification for the local community when observing the rising sea levels in order to reduce the risk of flood disaster in a local area in the North of Iran.

According to the Hyogo and the Sendai documents, it seems that using the capacity of community, particularly with a focus on children in risk assessment, disaster risk reduction and disaster preparedness in communities are therefore more important than ever. To our best knowledge, due to the scarcity of studies in child capacity for disaster risk reduction, it is necessary that researchers concentrate on further studies regarding how to use children’s potential to reduce the risk of both natural and manmade disasters in forthcoming years.

Footnotes

Funding: None.

Competing interests: None declared.

Ethical approval: Not required.

References

1. Stough LM, Kang D. The Sendai framework for disaster risk reduction and persons with disabilities. International Journal of Disaster Risk Science. 2015 Jun;6(2):140–9.
2. Aitsi-Selmi A, Egawa S, Sasaki H, Wannous C, Murray V. The Sendai framework for disaster risk reduction: Renewing the global commitment to people’s resilience, health, and well-being. International Journal of Disaster Risk Science. 2015;6(2):164–76.
3. International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. Hyogo framework for action 2005-2015: building the resilience of nations and communities to disasters; 18-22 January 2005, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan: ISDR.
4. Seballos F, Tanner T. Enabling child-centred agency in disaster risk reduction. Geneva: ISDR, 2011.
5. Wisner B, Gaillard JC, Kelman I. Handbook of Hazards and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management. Florence, Kentucky: Routledge, 2012.
6. Ciottone GR, Biddinger PD, Darling RG, Fares S, Keim ME, Molloy MS, et al. Ciottone's Disaster Medicine. Philadelphia: Elsevier Health Sciences, 2015.
7. Seballos F, Tanner T, Tarazona M, Gallegos J. Children and disasters: Understanding impact and enabling agency. England and Wales: Institute of Development Studies, 2011.

Articles from Journal of Injury and Violence Research are provided here courtesy of Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences