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How we reduce the damage disasters cause

How we reduce the damage disasters cause

In a week when we have seen the devastation that a natural disaster can cause in Haiti, we look at how our work is reducing the damage inflicted on communities. 

While natural disasters are far from uncommon, more can be done to help the parts of the world that suffer most from these unstoppable storms – as today’s International Day for Disaster Reduction aims to highlight.

Our disaster risk management unit at Plan International UK works to recognise the risk that certain countries face and supports them in building up their resilience. We work with children and the wider community so that they learn to anticipate, plan and adapt to disturbances so that longer-term their lives and prospects aren’t as affected.

Here we take a look at a collection of our projects to see how children and their communities benefit from being more prepared against disasters:

Building earthquake resistant schools in Nepal

As our work focuses on education for all children, we have a Safe Schools project, which builds schools to be safe from natural disasters and include early warning systems. After the Nepal earthquake in 2015 we have been building back schools that are more able to withstand earthquakes in the future. 

Families in Boliva rely on the production of crops to earn a living

Helping families cope with extreme weather in Bolivia

We’re helping families who live in regions of Bolivia that suffer from extreme weather conditions. In regions that are already feeling the effects of poverty, the extreme weather, caused by climate change and El Nino and La Nina, is the damaging the crops, pastures and roads that families rely on to earn a living. 

We’re working in partnership with the government to build to prepare, respond and adapt to disasters, such as flooding and long-term stresses such as drought. This includes educating communities to adapt their agricultural techniques to extreme weather and providing other means to earning a living. We’re also working with schools to educate people on the effects of climate change

Helping women and children to become key drivers of change in Myanmar

We are leading a programme in Myanmar in alliance with six organisations to help communities better prepare for disasters caused by climate change. The building Resilience and Adaption to Climate Extremes and Disasters is set to help 300,000 people. We are prioritising women and children by supporting them to lead the way in their communities to building climate-related resilience and development.

We have suffered a lot from natural disasters, and it is time to prevent it.

- U Mg Wai Thaung
 

Teaching children to be safe when disasters strike in South-east Asia

Our ASEAN Safe Schools Initiative teaches children across Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao and Myanmar how to respond to and stay safe in a natural disaster. We work with children to set up early warning task forces, search and rescue teams and first aid teams. Children are also taught how to respond to drills and develop school evacuation maps. 

I am proud to be a leader. By drawing evacuation maps, I can help my school and classmates around natural disasters.

- Ma Myo Thu, 12, Myanmar 
 

Children practice what to do in a disaster drill

A school drill in practice

The bell rings at the school.

“Attention, please! The storm has reached our school. Please evacuate to a safer place,” announces Mr. Samnang.

Students rush to put on their life jackets and hide under the table. Students remain under the table until the school announces that it’s safe to return to their seats.

A group of students trained in first aid check the classroom one by one and attend those who are injured. 

The school experienced a major storm in 2007 damaging the school roof, causing the school building to collapse and destroying study materials. This school drill is performed regularly to get the students prepared for when the next  storm hits their school. 

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