At the meeting in Tokyo, I was asked to talk about UNICEF’s strategies and approaches to disaster risk reduction. A new report from Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office gives recommendations on how the  city can better prepare for natural disasters. Mayor Bloomberg said Friday on his weekly WOR radio show that the city will be better prepared for future storms. WASHINGTON — In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the New York subways were flooded and unusable, and much of the city lost power for several days. That lack of preparation, combined with the steady uptick in coastal populations, exacerbates the devastation caused by natural disasters.
People who study risk perception see a sharp difference between risks posed by nature and risks posed by human activities, such as radiation or terrorism. When a natural disaster does occur, people react very strongly right after the event in order to reduce the damage from a future occurrence, but then, the initiative fades away, and people go back to business as usual, Slovic said. Slovic agreed that insurance could play a role in ensuring people prepare for disasters, but simply making insurance mandatory may not work. Shock– Following a disaster, one could get extremely shocked or dazed and might need guidance and direction. Guilt and blame– Survivors often tend to feel guilt or experience shame for living where their loved ones did not.
Seek crisis counseling if you or someone in your family is experiencing issues with disaster-related stress. Do not hold yourself responsible for the disastrous event or be frustrated because you feel you cannot help directly in the rescue work. News coverage related to a disaster may elicit fear and confusion and arouse anxiety in children.
Preparing for disaster helps everyone in the family accept the fact that disasters do happen, and provides an opportunity to identify and collect the resources needed to meet basic needs after disaster. If people learn, at a young age, to understand the risks, they could better prepare for them, he said. The emotional toll that disaster brings can sometimes be even more devastating than the financial strains of damage and loss of home, business or personal property. Whether a child has personally experienced trauma, has merely seen the event on television or has heard it discussed by adults, it is important for parents and teachers to be informed and ready to help if reactions to stress begin to occur. Particularly for younger children, repeated images of an event may cause them to believe the event is recurring over and over.
One way to establish a sense of control and to build confidence in children before a disaster is to engage and involve them in preparing a family disaster plan. Nepal's natural disaster is not an opportunity for voluntourism, or an escape from personal problems, or a way to fill up the void in your life. Manner prejudicial to public order it is essential that that person ought to be detained operate for most. But I don’t want other children to lose their relatives in future tsunamis,” said 12-year-old Ryusei. Special conferences and meetings were organized to gather children’s opinions, for example about school constructions. Eleven out of the 20 most disaster-prone countries are in the Asia and Pacific region.

My main message to the audience was that listening to children’s perspectives and addressing their needs and vulnerabilities should be at the heart of preparing for disasters.
If people were to build houses using only slightly better building materials, the houses could better withstand natural disasters, Hedde said. Another problem is that natural disasters often occur in otherwise desirable places to live, such as near a coast.
These behaviors are beginning to change how experts look at preparation for natural hazards, from the federal level all the way down to the level of individuals. At a policy level, steps are already being taken to increase the country's resilience to natural disasters. Misconceptions about evacuation and shelter use- Many people facing disasters tend to believe that emergency public shelters could be overcrowded and may try to seek other options. When you have a plan in place, you and your loved ones can adapt much easily to changes in situation and reduce stress and confusion that comes with disasters. Contact local faith-based organizations, voluntary agencies, or professional counselors for counseling. Ensure you are ready for future events by restocking your disaster supplies kits and updating your family disaster plan. If parents allow children to watch television or use the Internet where images or news about the disaster are shown, parents should be with them to encourage communication and provide explanations. I am reluctant to medicalise suffering in the aftermath of a natural disaster: symptoms of distress are a normal reaction to an abnormal situation and labelling does not help at an early stage. So, it is very important to acknowledge these differences while addressing the misconceptions surrounding one’s disaster response behavior.
Even individuals who experience a disaster “second hand” through exposure to extensive media coverage can be affected. If a young child is asking questions about the event, answer them simply without the elaboration needed for an older child or adult. Parents can build their own unique social support systems so that in an emergency situation or when a disaster strikes, they can be supported and helped to manage their reactions. An important step in preparing mentally for disasters includes anticipating feeling anxious, worried or stressed. The event, under the theme ‘Rebuilding Communities Together With Children’ highlighted the importance of listening to children’s voices in preparing communities for future disasters.
Poor communities are particularly vulnerable as disasters exacerbate existing poverty and inequality. Ryusei’s words reminded me yet again why reducing disaster risks for children is, and should be, everyone’s business. These are important steps, but increasing communities' resilience to natural disasters will still require participation from individuals, experts say. Children, senior citizens, people with access or functional needs, and people for whom English is not their first language are especially at risk. As you recover, it is a good idea to make sure that you have updated your family disaster plan and replenished essential disaster supplies just in case a disaster happens again. Direct exposure to the disaster, such as being evacuated, observing injuries or death of others, or experiencing injury along with fearing one’s life is in danger. I was in Sichuan following the 2008 earthquake and a Chinese colleague told me that many of those who survived the natural disaster spoke with contempt of Western psychosocial programmes.

This is particularly true for large-scale disasters or a terrorist event where significant property damage and loss of life has occurred.
She has previously written for Science News, Wired, The Santa Cruz Sentinel, the radio show Big Picture Science and other places. But to support their children, parents need to attend to their own needs and have a plan for their own support. The aim is to help them be less prone to suffering and destruction, even when the next disaster strikes. Listening to children’s voices is important because disasters affect them disproportionately, with potentially detrimental impact on their long-term development.
When disaster strikes, you must not only be prepared logistically but also psychologically. On-going stress from the secondary effects of disaster, such as temporarily living elsewhere, loss of friends and social networks, loss of personal property, parental unemployment, and costs incurred during recovery to return the family to pre-disaster life and living conditions. As the population grows, becomes more urbanized and builds infrastructure in hazardous areas like the coast, natural hazards pose an increasing threat. They can do this by building and using social support systems of family, friends, community organizations and agencies, faith-based institutions, or other resources that work for that family. Some children who have only indirect contact with the disaster but witness it on television may develop distress.
As children get older, their play may involve acting out elements of the traumatic event that occurred several years in the past and was seemingly forgotten. Different people react differently to disasters be it terrorist attacks or natural calamities. Calmly provide factual information about the recent disaster and current plans for insuring their safety along with recovery plans. The wind tunnel is part of the Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) Research Center and is funded by the insurance industry. As children grow older, they develop a more sophisticated understanding of the disaster event. Maintain a sense of calm by validating children’s concerns and perceptions and with discussion of concrete plans for safety.
They may display a wide range of reactions — sadness, generalized fear, or specific fears of the disaster happening again, guilt over action or inaction during the disaster, anger that the event was not prevented, or fantasies of playing rescuer. Planners should try new policies for risk preparedness, rather than try to change people's attitudes, he said. In the weeks following a traumatic event, preschoolers’ play activities may reenact the incident or the disaster over and over again. A panel of experts, speaking June 25 at a science policy conference of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), called for greater resilience in facing such hazards.
For those that were directly exposed to the disaster, reminders of the disaster such as high winds, smoke, cloudy skies, sirens, or other reminders of the disaster may cause upsetting feelings to return. Parents and adults can make disasters less traumatic for children by taking steps to manage their own feelings and plans for coping.

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