After massive disasters children are more at risk of trafficking, exploitation, abuse and being illegally sent to orphanage homes. Annually, common disasters like earthquakes, floods, landslides, lightening are causing much causality and making children homeless in our country.
According to the concerned body every year thousands of children are being trafficked to work as child laborers. The situation may deteriorate as traffickers target newly vulnerable children in the disaster affected areas.
The affected people may also be easily convinced and obliged to send children to child labour and orphanage homes leading to exploitation and abuse because of the worsening living conditions and loss of livelihoods. Children who have lost their families are extremely vulnerable, and it is important to seek alternative care rather than placing these children in temporary shelters. Many children in such shelters may experience neglect, violence, abuse and end up losing their family ties.
Generally children are neglected after disasters. They are the matter of stress and anxiety in the family. Children especially girls are most vulnerable. Child protection in disasters refers to all efforts to prevent and respond to abuse, forced marriage, child labour, neglect, exploitation and violence against children as a result of disasters. Families and communities have to take care of their children. Governments also have to arrange new policies regarding safe migration of children. Critical care is needed for children who have lost their parents.
During disaster response, all government agencies and civil society actors have a role to play in ensuring the safety and protection of children. The children must be able to return to school as soon as possible. It is necessary to provide children with a safe place to learn and receive support. So as response plans are developed and implemented, the needs of all children are critical. We must listen to their views and act on their opinions regardless of gender and caste.
Addressing the voices of children affected by earthquakes will help ensure that Nepal can build back better, integrating disaster risk reduction to protect children and communities from future crises as well as from emergencies like floods, landslides and earthquakes. This is particularly urgent with us because every year disasters have been affecting many children and their families.