NGOs Team Up for Aussie Kids in Disasters
12 November 2012 at 12:51 pm
Children play in a Child Friendly Space operated by Save the Children during Cyclone Yasi. Photo: Save the Children
Two of Australia’s largest emergency management NGOs have teamed up in a new partnership to support children at times of natural disaster.
Child rights agency Save the Children and humanitarian aid organisation Australian Red Cross will work together to ensure “children’s needs are met in times of disaster” as Australia’s bushfire, flood and cyclone season approaches.
Save the Children says its “Child Friendly Spaces” – a ‘drop-in’ play centre for children whose families are addressing immediate concerns such as housing, financial and medical needs – will complement Red Cross’ work.
In particular, it will support Red Cross’ disaster relief and recovery teams which Red Cross says provides emotional support, reconnect family members and undertake recovery outreach of people affected by disasters.
Save the Children’s Emergency Response Team Leader Stephen McDonald said that Child Friendly Spaces can play an important role in identifying and addressing child protection concerns within an affected population following a natural disaster.
“Child friendly spaces can improve children’s psychosocial wellbeing by helping to re-establish routine, provide support and a sense of stability, and an opportunity to play,” McDonald said.
“The spaces also provide respite for families under stress, so parents can focus on re-establishing their livelihoods knowing their children are in safe hands.’’
National Emergency Services Manager for Red Cross Andrew Coghlan said the partnership with Save the Children would enhance the ability of the organisation to lessen the impact of displacement on children during a natural disaster.
“Red Cross works with individuals and communities to reduce the impact of emergencies on their wellbeing and it is great that Save the Children will be working closely with us in evacuation centres to ensure young people are properly cared for,” Coghlan said.
“With the fire season already upon us, both organisations are gearing up for a busy summer.”