Once you get past the short term emergency, basic life-sustaining relief efforts, what does the transition to recovery look like? After water, food, sanitation are improved, what becomes the big challenge next?
This is an important question to start addressing from the very beginning. What is important is to work on the resumption of basic social services so there is a sense of normalcy and children can access these services. Amongst the most importance, is the resumption of education so that children are in a familiar environment and begin the healing process. In addition, children will need pyschosocial support, to deal with the stress that they have been under, including the possible loss of lives in their families and loved ones. We also need to start looking at early recovery and reconstruction activities from the get go, starting with water systems but also looking at health and education infrastructure.
[Cebu, Philippines] Excerpts from Education Secretary Armin Luistro’s message to teachers in the Philippines:
[Image credit: UNICEF]
This is a crucial time for us. It is during times like this when you are most needed. It is important that you recognize your leadership role. The leader has to stand strong. Without a leader, chaos just spontaneously erupts.
Let’s look for people first. Don’t worry about damages to property – we will deal with that later. The worst thing is to count buildings and fallen trees and not account for our people.
Second, let’s bring our children back to school. The best way for kids to recover is to bring them back to their routine as soon as possible – and that is to bring them to school. There is no need to conduct classes right away. Let them play. Do activities.
The Department of Education must be the spokesperson for children. Bring them back to school; then we will start accounting for them. Let’s see who are not present and who cannot be contacted: sick, missing.
In times of crisis, we account for the lost sheep. This is what the leader should do: to leave the 99 and look for the lost sheep.
Read the original here.
More info on the impact of Typhoon Haiyan on children and education:
An estimated 2.8 million preschool and school aged children may have been driven from their homes. In the hardest hit area of Region 8: Eastern Visayas, more than 3,000 schools and 2,400 day care centres appear to be affected (via UNICEF)
Also see here.