Our Priorities

Preparation can reduce or prevent the dangers children face in emergencies.

Preparedness is especially important in China, where major floods, snowstorms, droughts and earthquakes happen regularly. Each year, China ranks among the top ten countries suffering fatalities and economic damage from disasters.

When emergencies occur, children often lack warm clothing, adequate nutrition and school supplies. Children may be injured in natural disasters. Children with disabilities, or children affected by HIV and AIDS, may find their care interrupted.

Much of this disruption to children's lives is preventable. Preparedness measures like risk identification, pre-positioned supplies, routine evacuation drills, and emergency response plans can help ensure that any disaster response meets the needs of children.

Helping children prepare for emergencies

UNICEF, together with its partners, works to empower children by including disaster preparedness training in the national school curriculum. We also support school safety training for teachers and principals, and we work with schools to conduct safety mapping and evacuation drills.

In addition, we contribute to training for health workers to enable them to meet the health, nutrition, water and sanitation needs of children in emergencies. In cooperation with government partners in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake zone, we helped integrate HIV prevention and care into local emergency health preparedness plans.

We collaborate on the development of child-focused standards for emergency preparedness and response, as well as on building codes and guidelines for retrofitting and school reconstruction.

With our support, a delegation of education policymakers and technical experts traveled to Japan to learn global best practices on school retrofitting and reconstruction. Lessons learned from this exchange have informed China's revised architectural standards for school buildings.

Making a difference

UNICEF's disaster risk reduction work is helping children stay safe in emergencies. Across China, children are learning how to respond in emergency situations, including how to evacuate their homes and schools, and how to maintain hygiene and sanitation during emergencies.

Our online training model for educating teachers and principals in school safety management is being expanded nationally.

Health workers are also now more aware of the needs of children in emergencies. Our integrated emergency health preparedness plan that includes HIV and AIDS prevention and care is being implemented on a broad scale.

Our support for a survey and database to organize information about vulnerable schools in need of retrofitting has contributed to funding decisions relating to school reconstruction.

You can help children prepare for emergencies. Take action by finding out what plans your child's school has made to prepare children for emergencies. Or find out how you can support UNICEF's work today.

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