3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Japan
SAVE THE CHILDREN’S CALL TO FOCUS ON EDUCATION AND CHILDREN AT THIRD WORLD CONFERENCE ON DISASTER RISK REDUCTION IN JAPAN
Over 100 million children are affected by disasters yearly, and as a result, all of them face challenges accessing education.
Disasters often damage or destroy schools, classroom supplies and equipment are lost. Schools are being used as evacuation centres. Education is interrupted or severely disrupted for prolonged period of time. The impact of disasters on children’s education goes beyond physical damage and interrupted school attendance. Children often experience psychological distress following disasters, affecting their ability to learn. Six months after Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, almost a quarter of affected schools reported that children’s psychological distress presented a barrier to learning.
As the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction opens in Sendai (Japan) on 14 March, Save the Children calls for all countries to drastically reduce the impact of disasters on education.
“Disasters have a huge impact on education. However, it does not have to be that way. Proper planning can really help us to mitigate the impact of disasters on education. Disaster risk reduction priorities need to be integrated in national education policies and plans” says Olivier Franchi, Country Director in Lao PDR “Investing in making school facilities safer and in preparing children and teachers for disasters are critical steps. Projections show that the number of people affected by disasters will significantly increase in the coming decades. Mitigating the impact of disasters on children’s education has to be a priority of the Sendai disaster risk reduction conference” says Olivier Franchi, Country Director in Lao PDR “For this reason, Save the Children fully supports the Worldwide Initiative on School Safety”
The initiative will be launched at the Sendai conference, with the immediate aim of having ten governments commit to becoming “Safe School Leaders”. A “Safe School Leader” will commit to make a national budget allocation for school safety and to develop a national school safety strategy as part of the national disaster risk reduction strategy.