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Disasters and Emergencies

Helping Children in Disasters and Emergencies

Over 175 million children are affected by disasters every year

28.5 million primary-age children are out of school in conflict-affected countries

Nearly one billion children lived in countries that experienced conflict in 2013 or 2014

In 2015 we reached 1.7 million people across 23 countries through our disasters and emergency work. 

Where disasters strike, we work with other Plan International national organisations to respond in the areas it can serve most effectively. We help children and communities before and after disasters and emergencies strike by: 

  • responding when emergencies occur by meeting communities’ immediate survival needs, including water, food, shelter and healthcare, with a focus on the particular needs of children and families 
  • supporting girls and boys to overcome trauma and fear and protecting children from abuse and exploitation through psychosocial support, child-friendly spaces and the provision of education in emergencies
  • supporting the long-term recovery of communities, addressing the root causes of vulnerability and making sure that children are fully involved in the process
  • investing in young people’s knowledge and skills to better prepare for and prevent future disasters - saving lives and minimising loss and damage
  • strengthening local governments’ and service providers’ capacity to deliver child-centred disaster risk management 
  • influencing local, national and global policies to ensure children’s rights are met in emergencies.

Our programmes have been funded by the UK Government (DFID), the European Union (ECHO) and the generosity of the British public. 

Our Work to Help Children in Emergencies

13,500 people in earthquake devastated regions in Nepal received emergency food and shelter

5,900 houses in Sierra Leone were decontaminated, preventing the spread of Ebola and making it safe for families to return home

11,400 children in villages and towns affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines received access to a local health centre

Support Children in Conflict – Syrian Refugees

Support Children in Emergencies

Child Protection

Child protection is central to our work. Our disasters and emergency work addresses all aspects of child rights, including the rights to survival, protection and development. We respond to and prevent abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence against children. Our work in disasters prioritises providing children with safe spaces, education and emotional support. 

Bringing Smiles to Children in the Philippines

Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Phillippines and displaced 6 million people. Following the disaster, we set up child-friendly spaces to keep children safe, off the streets, help them overcome trauma and provide a free space for learning and play.

Nutritional Wellbeing of Children in Nepal

Nutritional Wellbeing of Children in Nepal

In a country already suffering high rates of child malnutrition (one in two children) even before the earthquake, the impact of the disaster has worsened the health conditions and wellbeing of children in Nepal. We’re bringing mums together to improve the nutritional well-being of children in Nepal.

Preparing Communities for Future Disasters

The number of children affected by disasters and emergencies is expected to multiply threefold over the next decade due to climate change, environmental degradation, poverty and population growth, making it essential that communities become better prepared for disasters in hazard-prone areas.  

We work to strengthen the resilience of at-risk communities, enabling them to better provide for the safety and well-being of their children. We promote an innovative child-centred approach to disaster risk reduction that harnesses the energy and ideas of children and young people to work towards making lives safer and communities more resilient to disasters.

Preparing Myanmar for Climate Extremes

A new programme is set to help 300,000 people in Myanmar cope with climate extremes and disasters. The programme will prioritise women and children as key drivers of community resilience and development and empower them to realise and stand up for their rights.

10 Facts You Need to Know About Children and Climate Change

10 Facts You Need to Know About Children and Climate Change

If temperatures rise beyond two Degrees Celsius, the implications for today’s children, and future generations will be grave, and the poorest children will be the hardest hit. Here’s what you need to know about climate change and how you can help future generations. 

Involving Children and Young People

We believe that children, who are among the most affected by disasters and often the least consulted, have the right to participate in helping rebuild their communities, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. We work to increase the participation of children and young people in the planning, implementation and evaluation process of our emergency work. We also advocate with, and on behalf of children, at national, regional and global levels to ensure that their needs and voices are heard by decision-makers.

Ebola Survivor Abibatu: We Tell People They Shouldn’t Be Afraid

Abibatu, 16, is a girls’ rights activist for Plan and lost her father and brothers to Ebola. Through our youth advocacy work, Abibatu speaks about Ebola on the radio and tells people they shouldn’t be afraid of survivors. 

Our work helps children take an active role in recovering from emergencies. 


Help Us Get Life-Saving Aid to Children Fleeing Syria’s Brutal Conflict

Support our disaster work

Help Us Get Life-Saving Aid to Children in Emergencies

Search Results Disasters Emergency Committee


Disasters Emergency Committee

Plan International UK is a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee, an umbrella organisation that brings together UK aid agencies to tackle major humanitarian emergencies. 

The DEC unites the efforts of its member agencies (13 UK-registered charities) during major disasters by directing the public to a joint fundraising appeal. It aims to save lives by maximising money raised and ensuring funds are spent in the most effective and transparent way possible.

We joined the DEC in 2011, becoming the first agency to join the umbrella organisation. Our membership reflects our long-term strategic commitment to both disaster response and disaster risk reduction.

European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department


European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Office

Our disaster risk-reduction and response programmes in Asia, Africa and the Americas, is supported by the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Office (ECHO).