Children as agents of change for Disaster Risk Reduction

Lessons from El Salvador and the Philippines.

This work challenges the traditional belief that children are just passive victims of calamities yet in real sense children suffer the most during this calamities. Some suffer traumas as a result of the events that carry on.

Backed up by research carried out in the Philippines and El Salvador it elaborates on ways children can actively participate in disaster management in areas that are prone or have suffered natural calamities and pandemics in the past.Besides, it checks on the provision of the rights to protection of children against disasters, in the case of Alabama disasters like hurricanes, hailstorms, and tornadoes to mention a few.

Additionally, it urges on the attempt to involve children in disaster management not only for their own good but also for their households and the community at large basing on the fact that they can be effective communicators.The paper finally leaves some items to ponder about. One, are children able and are they able to take responsibility in disaster management? Then lastly, do the findings impact on the vulnerabilities of children during this calamities?T

his being an educative paper especially targeting the children I would print copies and distribute to various schools in Alabama.

The advantage of this resource is that not only will the information reach the children but also their parents.Schmidlin, T. W., & King, P. S. (1995). Risk factors for death in the 27 March 1994 Georgia and Alabama tornadoes. Disasters, 19(2), 170-177.

This paper focuses on what locations, behaviors or personal attributes increase the risk of death to persons in tornadoes. Variation in the deaths and survivors of the Alabama tornadoes in March 1994 (Schmidlin and King, 1995) indicate that 2/3 of the survivors had a TV and from prior alerts by National Weather Alerts were at least informed though there was little time to take caution and measures.There were four deaths in frame houses, 14 in mobile homes, two each in commercial buildings, vehicles, and outdoors, and one in garages.

This clearly states that place and location are significant when it comes to disaster management.The findings of the research clearly state the importance of taking caution and protection measures immediately the probability of being struck by a disaster is mentioned. Survivors more often took the recommended action of moving to an underground shelter or to a room without windows that protected them from lethal debris. However, few survivors took the recommended action of hiding under heavy furniture and covering with a blanket.

Few survivors of the 1994 Georgia tornadoes took these precautions, leading to the conclusion that these simple steps should be reinforced in tornado preparedness programs.Booklets on this research can be distributed in churches, homes and in public meetings. Jennings, C. R. (2013). Social and economic characteristics as determinants of residential fire risk in urban neighborhoods: A review of the literature. Fire Safety Journal, 62, 13-19.This article discusses on residential fire risks in urban neighborhoods based on building stock, social and economic factors on the hazard. This is not just an article but also a tool to educate the society on the risks of fire, how to minimize them while assessing the effects of the fire now and in the future.

The author emphasizes on safety measures putting in to account the challenges that may result in the populations in urban neighborhoods are high and so is the likely panic as well as congestion The article not only relates the fire to socioeconomic factors and the building stocks but also gives guidelines on how to react and the necessary precaution to take in case of such a disaster.Each member of the society is legible to read and put this into practices since fires can emanate from many of the activities that everyone is involved.The journal can be printed and distributed in all public places for easy accessibility. Pearce, L. (2003). Disaster management and community planning, and public participation: how to achieve sustainable hazard mitigation.

Natural hazards, 28(2), 211-228.This research paper offers an overview of historical ways of mitigating disasters and ways that have been effective in countering calamities. It further urges the parties responsible for recovery and handling of disasters to shift their attention from that and focus more on hazard mitigation. Precaution is better than cure.The paper is quite essential as it emphasizes on active involvement and incorporation of the local society in implementing the mitigation strategies towards disaster management.The paper is peculiar in that it directly relates to the society and states experimented ways of countering hazards with a case study of California’s Portola Valley. Results from the study indicate that sustainable disaster management is only achievable by involving the entire society in community planning and disaster management programs.

This is a useful resource to the local authorities who with this knowledge can educate the public, create awareness and encourage the public to actively participate in disaster management.Adger, W. N., Hughes, T. P., Folke, C., Carpenter, S. R., & Rockstrm, J. (2005). Social-ecological resilience to coastal disasters. Science, 309(5737), 1036-1039.An elaborate description and analysis of the reluctance that has been there when it comes to resilience to coastal disasters’ are given in this piece of work.it summarizes actions that require human agency when dealing with typhoons, hurricanes, and tsunamis. It states that majority of the coastal disasters are associated with weather events such as storms and flooding posing pervasive threats to human lives .the main causes are changes in sea level rise and climate too. These risks are exacerbated by human actions which ascertain the impacts of greenhouse gases on the causes of the disasters and calls for an effort to reduce the same and curb global warming.This is bound to improve the already eroded resilience of socio-ecological systems.

The piece is one to urge on the need to take measures against the disasters since they greatly impact on human lives from deaths to the ability of coastal ecosystems to regenerate after these disasters.it calls upon more political, legal, financial inputs other than just centralization or decentralization in order to manage these disasters that have since time immemorial been a burden to those living in coastal areas.Alabama has had affair share of this disaster from Hurricane Katrina to 2011 Tornado Outbreak. This article would be one to bring the change and a lasting remedy to this ever-recurring disasters.Bailey, C., Faupel, C. E., & Holland, S. F. (1992). Hazardous wastes and differing perceptions of risk in Sumter County, Alabama. Society & Natural Resources, 5(1), 21-36.The article gives an insight on the differences in perceptions of risks and the various attitudes that people hold towards these risks in Sumter County which happens to be the largest hazardous waste landfill.

The supporting details in this article are from research conducted through interviews and random email survey. A great rift existed between the perception of community leaders who trusted the operator’s waste facility and the general public who seemed to be skeptic about the company’s assurance and saw it as a risk the environment.The article explains how the authority can be a hindrance to progress in environmental conservation and hazard management. It explains the need for a consensus and agreement in matters concerning issues that pose risks to human life.

It is targeted to reach out to the public as well as the leaders, brochures on the roles of the public and leaders in hazard management that are highlighted in this piece of work can be used by environmental activists during public meetings to create this awareness.Fox, M. H., White, G. W., Rooney, C., & Rowland, J. L. (2007). Disaster preparedness and response for persons with mobility impairments: Results from the University of Kansas Nobody Left Behind Study. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 17(4), 196-205.

This paper is based on a study conducted to access the impact of natural calamities, hazards and disaster preparedness on persons with mobility disabilities.30 randomly selected Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster sites to investigate on disability surveillance capacity. The study states persons with disabilities were poorly represented in planning on the disaster management planning, preparedness, and mitigation strategies.

The study clearly states the importance of federal training on the people with disabilities since over 60% of the counties involved in the studies were not willing to modify their guidelines on disaster management as they considered it costly, there were limiting factors like staffing, lack of awareness and the general condescending attitude that traditionally exists towards the visually impaired.The findings from these study call to attention the public to rise beyond segregation of the physically impaired, involve them in each step of disaster management and make the strategies more technological to accommodate these members of the society. This piece of work can be distributed to the agencies concerned with persons with disability so that they can take an initiative to educate the disabled and enable them to participate in disaster management too.Coppola, D. P. (2006). Introduction to international disaster management. Butterworth-Heinemann.

This is a book that outlines various disasters, the vulnerabilities of various groups of the society based on the physical, social, economic and environmental profile. It further describes various techniques of accessing risks and evaluation as well as risk acceptability.it further discusses on mitigation, obstacles on mitigation of risks emergency response as a mitigation measure and incorporating mitigation into development and relief projects.

The book further explains on preparedness and response towards disasters and other hazards. It explains on planning, exercise, training, equipment, and statutory act as the major guidelines in disaster management and reiterates the importance of public awareness. The book not only educates on pre-disaster and post-disaster preparedness but also gives detailed information on first aid measures and how to act in situations that are critical and abrupt.This is a tool that is way helpful to the society from children to adults. It can be adopted in schools and since children are agents of change influencing from their peers to the elderly and the illiterate in the society then the knowledge contained in the book will help a great deal. Other than schools the book can be placed in various public libraries to make it more accessible.Fernandez, L. S., Byard, D., Lin, C. C., Benson, S., & Barbera, J. A. (2002).

Frail elderly as disaster victims: emergency management strategies. Prehospital and disaster medicine, 17(2), 67-74.Though brief, the author seeks to enlighten the readers on the vulnerabilities of the elderly to disasters and natural calamities and strategies to meet each of these vulnerabilities. His work is technically a collection of literature from relevant journals, government training materials and information from senior disaster management organizations.

The work associates the vulnerabilities to social and economic limitations, health issues that come in hand with aging, slow physical mobility, and diminished sensory awareness. These factors affect the responsiveness and preparedness well as disaster management by the elderly. The frail elderly are at higher risks since they rely on others for almost everything.The article poses a challenge to various concerned authorities as well as the government to recognize this group of the population in disaster mitigation strategies owing to the fact its growth is rapid. The elderly have more experience since they have encountered these disasters before hence with an adequate education they can greatly assist themselves and the society at large.

Samantela, S. S., Chua, S. L. M., Cinco, A. M. A., Cura, A. L. B., Mojica, K. C., & Malenab, M. C. T. (2016). Educational Vulnerability Assessment of Youth on Natural Disasters: The Case of Brgy. Paciano Rizal, Bay, Laguna.This is a study that investigated the vulnerability of the youth in areas like Laguna where 70 respondents were interviewed in the age bracket of 13-19 years of age. The study showed that the youth had low education on disaster management though they actually believed to have high educational awareness. This is actually a cause for alarm since the youth have the enigma and fresh brains and ability as well and if trained well the problem of hazard management could be solved completely.The youth build the nation they are innovative and the concerned authorities in disaster management should actually take advantage of this facts.

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