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The Devastating Impact of Natural Disasters

Children observe destroyed homes in Guatemala, which suffered a massive earthquake in November 2012.
Children observe destroyed homes in Guatemala, which suffered a massive earthquake in November 2012.

Millions of people are affected by natural disasters every year, and the impact can be calamitous. From the destruction of buildings to the spread of disease, natural disasters can devastate entire countries overnight. Tsunamis, earthquakes and typhoons do not just wreak havoc on land; they also disrupt people's lives, especially for those living in remote regions.

Displaced Populations

One of the most immediate effects of natural disasters is population displacement. When countries are ravaged by earthquakes and other powerful forces of nature, many people have to abandon their homes and seek shelter in other regions. A large influx of refugees can disrupt everything from accessibility of health care and education to food supplies and basic hygiene. Large-scale evacuations are common in light of the power of tsunamis and other natural disasters, and those fortunate enough to survive face a range of challenges following widespread destruction.

Health Risks

Aside from the obvious danger that natural disasters present, the secondary effects can be just as damaging. Typhoons, hurricanes and tsunamis often cause severe flooding, which can result in the spread of waterborne bacteria and malaria. As a result, health complications can be prevalent among survivors of natural disasters, and without the help of international relief organizations, death tolls can rise even after the immediate danger has passed.

Food Scarcity

After natural disasters, food can become scarce. Thousands of people around the world go hungry as a result of destroyed crops and a loss of agricultural supplies. The impacts of hunger following an earthquake, typhoon or hurricane can be tremendous, but fortunately, there are ways you can help. ChildFund's Child Alert Emergency Fund provides people affected by natural disasters with the food and nutritional support they need. Your donation of $25, $50 or $100 will be used to fulfill immediate needs on the ground.

Emotional Aftershocks

Natural disasters can be particularly traumatic for young children. Confronted with scenes of destruction and the deaths of friends and loved ones, many children develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a serious psychological condition resulting from extreme trauma. Left untreated, children suffering from PTSD can be prone to lasting psychological damage and emotional distress. ChildFund works in countries around the world affected by natural disasters to help children receive the psychosocial care they need following these traumatic events.

Although nobody can prevent natural disasters, we can help people in need in their wake. By making a donation to ChildFund's Child Alert Emergency Fund, you can help us provide food, clean water, health care and emotional support to children and communities displaced by natural disasters.


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