Education still not a priority in disaster responses

Monday 27 June 2016

Kathmandu, Nepal (22 June, 2016): A first-of-its-kind report launched by Save the Children yesterday reveals that children’s education is still not prioritized during disaster responses, and that only two percent of humanitarian aid funds education. The report, titled ‘Education Disrupted’, researched how schools and children’s education were interrupted over five disasters in 2015 – Nepal Earthquake, Indonesia Floods, Typhoon Koppu (Philippines), Cyclone Pam (Vanuatu), and Myanmar Floods.

In Nepal, an estimated 3.2 million children were directly affected both physically and mentally by the earthquake. Of these, around 870,000 children were left without permanent classrooms and an additional half a million required support to return to learning. This compounded the negative impact on their education over their whole school experience. After a year of earthquakes in Nepal, children are still being taught in temporary learning centres that were actually meant for use for weeks and maybe months, not years.

“Our children face grave issues of losing out on educational opportunities, and being harmed or killed in pursuit of education, because of disasters,” said Delailah Borja, Country Director of Save the Children in Nepal. “As Asia is the world's most disaster prone region, 200 million children’s lives is estimated to be severely disrupted each year. We must enhance both hardware and software to ensure that the education sector is kept safe from disasters,” she added.

Save the Children is leading a consortium working to ensure school children and their education are protected in an event or before disasters. The advocacy push by the consortium of four organizations is to test the national Comprehensive School Safety Framework in schools as well to reflect the framework’s objectives in government policies and plans related to education.

After the “Education Disrupted’ research was completed, Save the Children still identified significant gaps in information on the impact of disasters on education, which points to a lack of official data collection and analysis on the number of children and schools affected. “With this report, Save the Children is making a global appeal to governments to focus on ensuring that children will not miss a single day of school following a disaster and that none of them will also die or be harmed while in a school,” said Borja.