Natural disasters occur frequently around the world, but developing countries are particularly vulnerable to prolonged after-effects, even lasting years. Many countries lack early warning systems for natural disasters, have little infrastructure for disaster preparedness, and few resources for relief in the aftermath. Rapid urbanization, common in these high-risk areas, results in poorly constructed housing and a lack of basic infrastructure in high risk locations. These factors lead to higher death tolls and loss of homes and livelihoods, making it harder for already impoverished families to recover after a disaster.
Beyond the immediate risks of flooding and storm damage, impoverished areas are also particularly susceptible to the secondary effects of natural disasters. The population displacement caused by tsunamis and other disasters puts pressure on the infrastructure of nearby areas, disrupting access to healthcare and other necessities. This effect is exacerbated in a densely populated country like Indonesia. Severe flooding also makes an area vulnerable to waterborne diseases and malaria, which can be devastating, particularly for the youngest and most vulnerable people.
In 2004, a massive earthquake originating in the Indian Ocean rocked the world. The resulting tsunami was the most destructive in history, killing an estimated 230,000 people, including 150,000 in Indonesia, and wreaking havoc for millions across the region. The hardest hit country was Indonesia, and the aftermath brought attention to the nation’s constant struggle with natural disasters, which has led to greater efforts to increase preparedness and disaster risk reduction. In the wake of a natural disaster, our goal at ChildFund is to ensure the health and well-being of children in the area and help them cope with the psychosocial effect of having lived through a traumatic experience. Our innovative Child-Centered Spaces provide children a safe and supportive environment and the care they need after tsunamis, typhoons and other disasters strike.