How do emergencies affect and impact children?
Children are often more vulnerable to the effects of emergencies and disaster due to their physical, emotional, and cognitive immaturity. The specific ways in which children are affected by disasters and emergencies can vary depending on the type and severity of the event, as well as the age and individual characteristics of the child. However, some common ways in which children may be affected include:
- Physical harm: Children may be injured or killed during a disaster or emergency, either directly (e.g., being caught in a fire) or indirectly (e.g., by contracting an illness as a result of contaminated water or food).
- Separation from caregivers: Children may be separated from their parents or other caregivers during a disaster or emergency, which can cause anxiety, fear, and confusion.
- Loss of home and possessions: Children may lose their homes, possessions, and access to familiar surroundings as a result of a disaster or emergency, which can be traumatic and disruptive.
- Disruption of routine and normalcy: Disasters and emergencies often disrupt children’s daily routines, causing them to miss school, change their living arrangements, and engage in activities that may be outside of their normal experience.
- Emotional and psychological impacts: Children may experience a range of emotional and psychological reactions to disasters and emergencies, including fear, anxiety, sadness, and anger. They may also exhibit behavioural changes, such as difficulty sleeping or concentrating, or may have difficulty managing their emotions.
It is important to recognise that children may experience different types and levels of impact from disasters and emergencies, and that they may need support and care to cope with these events.
History of Disasters and Emergencies in Pakistan
The Post-Disaster Needs Assessment on Pakistan Flood 2022 conducted by the Ministry of Planning Development & Special Initiatives reports “Between June and August 2022, torrential rains and a combination of river flooding, urban flooding and flash floods led to an unprecedented disaster in Pakistan. According to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), around 33 million people – one in seven – have been affected by the floods, including nearly 8 million displaced people. The floods have claimed the lives of more than 1,700 people, a third of whom were children.
The Impact on Education
Damage: PKR 120 billion (US$559 million) | Loss: PKR 47 billion (US$219 million)
The 2022 floods caused unprecedented cumulative damage and loss to the public education sector. In the assessed districts, the entire span of education services, from pre-primary to lifelong learning, has suffered. The floods have impacted approximately 17,205 public schools (primary to higher secondary), colleges, special education centres/schools/institutions, technical and vocational education and training centres, and universities. At least 6,225 education institutions were assessed as fully damaged and 10,980 as partially damaged. This has affected some 94,478 teachers and 2.6 million enrolled students (of which over 1 million are estimated to be female students). School education (pre-primary to higher secondary) suffered the most, with a 97 percent share of all damaged education institutions affecting an estimated 2.4 million students. Within school education, the damage to primary schools is highest with an 80 percent share of all damaged institutions, affecting 1.1 million students.
Recovery and Reconstruction Needs: PKR 197 billion (US$918 million)
The roadmap for recovery includes an immediate focus on the resumption of learning through alternative or temporary learning spaces to mitigate risks to children and adolescents’ education, protection, and well-being. This is particularly important as the reconstruction and repair of accessible, safe, secure, and inclusive education institutions will continue into the medium to long term. Ensuring quality education should be prioritised throughout all recovery phases, including the need to assess learning losses, plan for learning recovery, establish systems to track students’ access and learning, and continuous education and support for teachers to adapt to new conditions. Recovery strategies should also emphasise the need to strengthen disaster preparedness and response at all levels through disaster risk management training and emergency response planning in the medium term and incorporating disaster resilience in education sector planning and implementation in the long term.”
More on Disasters and Emergencies
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