Sunday, September 20, 2009

Children's needs during disasters

Zachary Hoffman in Disaster News Network: Children make up nearly 25 percent of the U.S. population, but during disasters emergency managers are required to meet the needs of pets -- not children. Instead, children are grouped in special needs categories with the elderly and disabled.

The National Commission on Children and Disasters teamed up with faith-based response organizations, federal agencies and non-profits to draft an interim report to address the needs of children in disasters and to form emergency plans around them.

The Church of the Brethren Children’s Disaster Services were a part of a subcommittee that contributed to the sheltering portion of the interim report and have seen the neglect of children following disasters first hand.

“Child neglect is generally not intentional,” said Judy Bezon, associate director of the Children’s Disaster Services (CDS). “Parents are left thinking about food, clothing and shelter and whether they still have a job to provide clothing, food and shelter.” Sometimes, she explained, the process of disaster recovery: needs assessments, shelters, monetary grants and general paperwork occupy parents’ time and overshadow the needs of their children….

Children playing in a monsoon downpour in Laos, shot by Adam Jones Adam63, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License

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