The Need for Emergency Response in Developing Nations

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Posted on 9/4/2013
Maria stands outside of her home after an earthquake in Guatemala.
Maria stands outside of her home after an earthquake in Guatemala.

Natural disasters can be devastating for countries with the most resources, but for developing nations, these powerful events can be catastrophic over the long term. Without timely emergency response, millions of children and their family members have a difficult time reclaiming their homes, jobs and lives.

Just as September is National Preparedness Month in the United States, it's also a time to remember those around the world who are most vulnerable in emergency situations. Each week this month, we will focus on different kinds of crises that affect the countries ChildFund serves and how we can help.

Fragile Communities

For many families living in poverty, food scarcity, inadequate housing and a lack of access to health care are daily challenges they must face. But in the wake of earthquakes, floods or typhoons, these problems are compounded. Natural disasters often displace families living in poverty, and without support, children's lives are at risk. Families need help rebuilding their lives, and ChildFund's experience in the field and connections with aid organizations allow us to move efficiently in the days, weeks and months after a disaster. That's why timely intervention is so important following natural disasters, particularly in the crucial first hours and days after a disaster in at-risk communities.

In addition to the obvious physical danger posed by natural disasters, children are often hit the hardest by the subsequent psychological trauma of seeing their home washed away by floods or their communities reduced to rubble by earthquakes. Unless children receive the proper psychosocial support, they may remain afraid and unable to move past the trauma of the disaster.

Quick Response

The hours and days immediately following a natural disaster are the most important. Food sources can be destroyed, homes leveled and vital medical centers demolished, leaving children and their families with few places to turn. That's why ChildFund's Emergency Action Fund is so important.

This fund allows us to assess damage in the hours and early days after a disaster, providing immediate aid to the victims of natural disasters wherever it is needed most. Whether helping local partners equip refugee centers or supplying aid stations with food and medical equipment, the Emergency Action Fund is vital to ensuring that children in need and their families receive the support to cope in the aftermath of these traumatic events. We'll remain in the affected region to provide psychosocial services to children, as well as setting up safe spaces for them to discuss their feelings.

To help ChildFund make a difference after natural disasters, please consider making a donation to our Emergency Action Fund. Your support and generosity will help save children's lives.