Flood Recovery 2006 final by fdh56iuoui


									Editorial Advisors:                                 KEY IDEA
Dr. Ian Davis
Cranfield University, UK
Kala Peiris De Costa
Siyath Foundation, Sri Lanka
                                                      Society's Responsibility:
Khurshid Alam
International Tsunami Programme
                                                      Safer Schools
ActionAid International, Dhaka

Madhavi Malalgoda Ariyabandu                             n any disaster situation anywhere in the world—be it a human
Intermediate Technology Development                      induced or natural—children are among the most vulnerable
Group (ITDG) – South Asia, Sri Lanka
                                                      groups. Especially if the disaster occurs during school time. If we
Mihir R. Bhatt                                        critically examine the victims among the affected children, we find
All India Disaster Mitigation Institute,              that girls are more affected. It could be due to their dress or any
                                                      other reasons, which need to be critically looked into. There are
Dr. Rita Schneider – Sliwa                            several examples of such incidents where large numbers of innocent
Basel University, Switzerland                         school children were killed by natural hazards in a matter of few
Dr. Satchit Balsari, MD, MPH                          seconds or minutes-such as Lyete mudslide in the Philippines,
The University Hospital of Columbia                   Pakistan earthquake, Gujarat earthquake, etc. There are many more
and Cornell, New York                                 unheard/ unpublished stories of children dead due to both human-
                                                      induced and natural disasters.
    This issue of is
    designed as a special contribution to the
    Asian Conference on Disaster                      Similarly, there are several wonderful exemplary stories around
    Reduction 2007; June 25–27, 2007,                 the world where a young child was able to save hundreds of lives.
    Astana, Republic of Kazakhstan, hosted            This includes the story of Tilly Smith, who was able to predict
    by Asia Disaster Reduction Centre.                tsunami in Thailand in 2004 and save hundreds of lives. There also
                                                      is a story of Parth S. Sutaria, 14 who drew a family to safety when a
     In this issue                                    flood occurred in their village. There are many of such
1.     Society's Responsibility:                      undocumented stories.
       Safer Schools                            2
2.     Making Schools Safer                           From the above two examples we can conclude that children are
       Requires Contributions                         prone to any type of disasters and if they have been imparted with
       from All                                 3     appropriate information, skills and knowledge on disasters, they
                                                      can save their own lives as well as the lives of others.
3.     A Safer Tomorrow ...
       A Better Tomorrow                        4
                                                      Therefore, disaster risk reduction education to all children anywhere
4.     Urban School Safety: Who
                                                      in the world is a must for a safer world. Similarly, there are several
       Contributes and How                      5
                                                      other important elements that substantially reduce the disaster risk
5.     Growing School Safety                          of the school children. These include a safe school building and
       Initiatives in India                     7     safety facilities in the school such as fire escapes.
6.     Let our Children Teach Us!               9
7.     School Safety Programmes                       With all our recent experiences of disasters and their impact on
       in Tamil Nadu            10                    children, we all know very well that the risk can be substantially
                                                      reduced if we all (government agencies, donors, I/NGOs and local
8.     Round Table on School
                                                      communities) work together. However, the primary role goes to
       Safety: Reflection of a
                                                      the teachers, parents and children.
       Five year Campaign                   11
9.     A Community-based                              The ISDR campaign for 2006/ 2007 "Disaster Risk Reduction Begins
       Approach for School Safety                     at School" is very timely. However, the campaign needs to be
       and Education for Disaster                     translated into action. Productive action can only be fulfilled if all
       Reduction                  12
                                                      segments of a society work together with a "safer school... safer
10. Preparedness Month: A                             society' motto and the idea firmly instilled that today's children
    Practical Guideline from the                      have a right to a safer school.
    Government of India        13                                                                         Man B. Thapa
11. Disaster Education:                                                                   Disaster Risk Reduction Advisor
    Japanese Experience                     16                                                            UNDP, Sri Lanka

2                                                                                      May 2007
Making Schools Safer Requires Contributions
from All
A      series of catastrophic events
      claims tens of thousand of lives
of school children and creates serious
                                                                                     putting local capacity in the centre.
                                                                                     One of the significant outcomes of this
                                                                                     approach is the shift of focus towards
concern among the policy makers and                                                  community-based               disaster
citizens. The 2006–2007 biennial                                                     management. A proper education
worldwide campaign called "Disaster                                                  through schools not only teaches
Risk Reduction Begins at School"                                                     children, but also reaches deep into
launched by ISDR and other UN                                                        the community through parents and
agencies and NGOs shows the urgent                                                   teachers.
need for safer schools. The objective
of the campaign is to ensure that                                                    Key success to any campaign towards
disaster risk awareness is integrated                                                making schools safer and promoting
into national school curricula in                                                    a culture of safety through education
countries vulnerable to natural                                                      requires contribution from all sectors.
hazards and school buildings are                                                     Governments should develop a legal
constructed/ rehabilitated to            First making schools safer against          and institutional framework for
withstand natural hazards. Only 33       hazards and then using them to spread       systematically        implementing,
countries such as Cuba, Turkey, Iran,    disaster awareness can be effective in      monitoring, and evaluating school
Nepal and India have reported that       inculcating a culture of safety.            protection measures; the process
they have disaster management                                                        should involve stakeholders from all
related subjects in their school         mandatory to ensure that risk               levels. The Roundtable workshop on
curricula. While in Mexico, Romania      mitigation          elements          are   reflection on four year campaign and
and New Zealand, teaching of             systematically incorporated into new        the First International Conference on
disaster-related       subjects     is   school building designs and locations       School Safety which was held in
mandatory. Other countries such as       and into the retrofitting of existing       Ahmedabad provides a platform to
Brazil, Venezuela, Cuba and Japan        buildings. It is the right to every child   share the experiences and reflection
report significant primary and           to be safe in school; it is therefore the   of learning at the global level.
secondary teaching at municipal or       responsibility of government to
state level.                             ensure the physical safety and              The challenge is really very tough
                                         resilience of school buildings.             and there are several hurdles and
The Right to Safer Schools Campaign                                                  blocks between the current situation
is need of the hour because most of      After the 2004 fire tragedy in a school     and disaster resilient schools.
the schools are unsafe—an NSET           in Kumbhakonam, Tamil Nadu, the             Governments have made their
study shows that 60 percent of schools   Supreme Court of India issued an            commitments to the Hyogo
are made of weak construction            order to the central and state              Framework for Action and now it is
materials, located on fragile and low    governments          to    formulate        time to put words into practice. This
lying areas which are prone to multi-    comprehensive time bound plans to           is a matter of political will and
hazards. The death toll of 16,000        ensure the safety of children in            commitment of government, as
school children in the recent Pakistan   schools. The Central Board of School        Iranian        Parliament       recently
earthquake is a result of poor design    Education has also issued a circular        announced a new bill that will see
or location decisions, or both.          to the heads of affiliated schools          the improvement in seismic safety of
                                         regarding the safety measures taken         school buildings with a budget of US
One of the Millennium Development        by school authorities and has               $4 billion. It is a time for NGOs, school
Goals (MDG) is to enroll all children    introduced Disaster Management as           authorities, teachers, students and
worldwide in school by 2015. To          a subject in school curricula. The          communities to learn about local
achieve the goal, 10 million new         Government of Gujarat has initiated         hazards and minimise their
classrooms will be constructed over      the Gujarat School Safety Initiative        impacts.
100 countries in next one decade.        project to raise awareness in schools.                    Rajesh Kumar Kaushik
Unplanned constructions will                                                                          Humanitarian Response
enhance the risk of students and         AIDMI's Right to Safer Schools                                      Coordinator–India,
teachers; therefore it must be made      Campaign approach is unique,                                          Oxfam–Australia

May 2007                                                                                     3
A Safer Tomorrow ... A Better Tomorrow
Losses to Disasters

H     istory shows that human beings
      have always applied their
wisdom, knowledge and technology
to protect themselves from natural
hazards. Significant progress has also
been made over time, but natural

                                                                                                                                All photographs in this issue: AIDMI
hazards continue to be a major source
of risk to life and property. According
to an estimate, disasters during the
last decade claimed over 600,000 lives
and affected over 2 billion, and direct
economic loss is estimated at US$ 700
billion. Accelerated population
growth and concentration of assets
and people in hazard-prone areas,
unplanned development, global
climate change, etc. have exacerbated
                                           Encouraging awareness and practice of disaster preparedness can be easy
the problem.
                                           and fun.

The impact of hazards has been
disproportionate on different              students perished in a fiery blaze in a   risk, advocates using schools to
population groups. In the Maldives,        secondary school in Kumbhakonam,          spread disaster risk reduction
those aged 65 or over constitute 17.3      Tamil Nadu, in 2004. They were            knowledge and protecting and
per cent of the total deaths to the 2004   among 190 younger students trapped        strengthening critical public facilities
Indian Ocean tsunami. They,                in a second-floor classroom after the     like schools and hospitals2. In other
however, comprise only 3.1 per cent        fire had blocked the only way out.        words, the Framework raises two key
of the population, i.e. they                                                         issues:
contributed five-and-a-half times          Children are hope for families,           • Promoting safety through
more compared to their proportion          societies, nations and all of                  schools, i.e. using school
in the population. Elsewhere, the          humankind. A great deal of                     education to build a safer
tsunami typically claimed more of the      investment is made to provide them             tomorrow;
under-15s and the over-50s1.               with quality education. However,          • Promoting safety of schools, i.e.
                                           adequate attention has not been paid           making schools sufficiently
                                           to ensure that the environment in              resistant to hazards so that
Disaster Tragedies and Children
                                           which they get their education is safe         tomorrow is safe inside them.
Children are more vulnerable when
disasters occur during school hours.       from hazards. Better construction
During an earthquake in Pakistan-          would have prevented many schools         So far, 32 nations have reported to
administered Kashmir in 2005, over         from collapsing in Pakistan-              the UN/ISDR that they have disaster
16,000 children were crushed to death      administered Kashmir and Gujarat          related subjects in their national
in schools that collapsed. The total       State of India.                           school curricula. Countries like Cuba,
death toll was near 73,000. The 2001                                                 Nepal and Turkey are investing to
Gujarat earthquake killed almost 900       Working on Building Safer Schools         retrofit important public facilities
school children. Ninety-three              Amidst these tragedies, there have        like schools and health centres and
                                           been some positive indications as         applying building codes to new
1 Telford, J. and Cosgrave, J.
  (contributing author Houghton, R.),      well. Various governmental, non-          similar constructions. Several civil
  2006. Joint evaluation of the            governmental and international            society organisations have also joined
  international response to the Indian     agencies are expressing their             hands towards making schools safer
  Ocean tsunami: Synthesis Report.         concerns over the safety of schools       against hazards and making
  Tsunami Evaluation Coalition             and those inside them. The Hyogo          tomorrow safer. The following
2 For more, see: UN/ISDR, 2005. Hyogo
                                           Framework for Action 2005–2015, a         articles will discuss various issues
  Framework for Action: building the
  resilience of nations and communities    policy adopted by 168 governments         concerning school safety and share
  to disasters (           and the UN/ISDR to address disaster       some good practices.

4                                                                                  May 2007
Urban School Safety: Who Contributes and
C     ampaign towards making
      schools safer and promoting a
culture of safety through education
requires contribution from all sectors
of society. States and regional and
international         organisations,
including the United Nations and
donor agencies; civil society,
including        non-governmental
organisations,        media       and
community-based          volunteers;
scientific communities; the corporate
sector; and all other stakeholders
need to converge their efforts. The
figure below graphically illustrates
the roles different stakeholders may

                                          Recently, several municipal schools in Ahmedabad, India, have teamed up with
What Schools Can Do
                                          NGOs to learn about addressing fire hazards.
As the Hyogo Framework for Action
suggests, school management should        guidelines in construction. They       comprehensive national strategy,
see that disaster knowledge is            should also develop and update         with targets and indicators, towards
included at all levels of school          disaster preparedness and response     safety of schools (including building
curricula. School management should       plans.                                 codes, school-centred early warning
provide opportunities to teachers to                                             systems and insurance) and
enhance their disaster knowledge and      What Governments Can Do                promoting Disaster Risk Reduction
should insure school infrastructure,      It is necessary for government to      (DRR) through school education.
students, teachers and administrators     ensure that all children within its    Governments should create an
against disaster-induced losses.          territory are safe in schools.         environment conducive for all actors
Schools should adopt safety               Governments should set up a            to contribute and concentrate their

                                                                                 What NGOs Can Do
                                                                                 NGOs can significantly contribute
                                                                                 towards achieving desired impacts of
                                                                                 those activities targeted at and rooted
                                                                                 in communities. Regarding school
                                                                                 safety, they can work alongside both
                                                                                 governments and communities, and
                                                                                 bridge the gap between policy and
                                                                                 practice, such as organising
                                                                                 volunteers to help practice initiatives
                                                                                 in schools and other communities and
                                                                                 conduct trainings to inform teachers
                                                                                 about professional knowledge on
                                                                                 school safety. Other important areas
                                                                                 where NGOs can contribute are policy
                                                                                 advocacy, awareness generation and
                                                                                 influencing governments to adopt
                                                                                 appropriate policies. As the following
                                                                                 article will discuss, NGOs are directly
Complementary roles of different actors in school safety.                        involved in implementation as well.

May 2007                                                                              5
What the Media Can Do
The media, including print and
electronic, can be active in uplifting
                                          Publications Under The Right to
public awareness by disseminating
disaster and school safety related        Safer Schools Campaign
knowledge. It is well known that the
dynamic involvement of media like
television can have a significant
                                          O     rganisations actively engaged
                                                in the campaign on school
                                          safety have compiled many kinds of
                                                                                        • Impact of Earthquakes on
                                                                                          Children: Current situation of
                                                                                          earthquake-affected children,
impact on the public. Thus, various       materials and publications to                   in their own words.
manners of resilience information         highlight the importance and good         o   Preparedness Pocketbook Series
dissemination such as story telling       practice on the issue. The following          (PPS):
and series of animations are greatly      publications have been prepared by            • Emergency Medical Response
encouraged. Meanwhile, they can           All India Disaster Mitigation Institute         (Disaster First-Aid)
                                          (AIDMI) under the Right to Safer              • Disaster Preparedness for
serve as watchdogs of other actors
                                          Schools Campaign.                               School Safety
like      governments,        school
                                          o "Kutch to Kumbhakonam" – issue          o   Awareness materials:
managements and NGOs and bring
                                               of Afat Nivaran published in             • Awareness displays on school
transparency and efficiency to their
                                               Gujarati and Vipada Nivaran                safety and first-aid during
work.                                          published in Hindi language.               disasters.
                                          o "A Need for a Regional School               • Awareness brochures on
What Parents/Guardians Can Do                  Safety Campaign" – issue of                school safety; role of disaster
Parents should share with their                           mitigation teams; and do's and
children the ways of preventing, and      o Experience Learning Series (ELS):             don'ts before, during and after
surviving during, disasters. They              • Planning Guidelines for Safer            earthquakes,        tsunamis,
should encourage their children to                Schools and Education against           floods, cyclones, etc. are
take part in education and other                  Disaster, based on the January          developed in local languages
activities about disasters organised in           2001 earthquake in Gujarat.             and circulated in schools.
schools or elsewhere. Parents'
associations, as civil society
organisations, can work together
with other stakeholders.
                                          Children Themselves: Real Heroes
What Students Can Do
Students themselves tend to be
                                          T    his year, 24 children were
                                               honored in India with the
                                          National Bravery Awards for their
                                                                                    can be trusted when disaster

neglected when people address             remarkable courage to save the lives      A ten-year-old British girl named
school safety working for them. They      of strangers.                             Tilly Smith became famous for
are to be encouraged to not only                                                    predicting a tsunami in Thailand in
teach their parents, work as              The Indian Council started the            2004 and saved many lives. She had
volunteers in community-based             national awards for bravery in 1957       learned about the signs of tsunami
activities about disaster resilience,     The award was to recognise and            in her geography class.
and conduct self-rescue, but help         honour children who performed
younger and senior citizens when          outstanding deeds of bravery and          All these cases urge us to recognise
hazard occurs.                            selfless sacrifice. The first award was   that a children can be real heroes and
                                          given in 1957, Since then the council     play significant role at the time of a
                                          has conferred awards on children          crisis. The society should reinforce
An estimate says roughly one billion
                                          below the age of 16, every year.          them         with       professional
children aged 14 or below are living
                                          Parth S. Sutaria, 14 years old, drew a    methodology and knowledge.
in seismically hazardous areas and        family to safety when a flood
millions of them are at risk while                                                  Source:
                                          attacked their area. Their extremely      Bravery awards: An MP representation,
attending schools. The situation          encouraging behaviours convinced
becomes more frightening when             us that children have strength and        20060120/2001281. htm; India Today,
risks arising from other hazards such                                               Volume 27 Number 6, 2007
as floods, landslides, cyclones and
volcanoes are considered and alarms
are concerned to act urgently.
Collaborative efforts from all,
however, can turn this frightening
situation into a hazard-resilient

6                                                                                May 2007
Growing School Safety Initiatives in India

T    he frequency of disaster
     occurrence and the impact
disasters have upon children have
increased through the past several
decades. More and more children go
to schools that are exposed to fires,
earthquakes, floods, cyclones,
pollution, food poisoning, stampedes,
and other hazards. The year 2005
witnessed the death of 16,000 young
lives in Kashmir when due to an
earthquake, 8,000 schools collapsed.
In 2004, 94 school children perished
in a fiery blaze in Kumbhakonam,
Tamil Nadu and in 2001, 931 students
died during the Gujarat earthquake.
These catastrophes have prompted
many in South Asia, a multi-hazard        Explanation of the science of Fire Safety and Disaster Occurrence at Anumanthai
prone region, to act towards              High School, a tsunami-affected school of Villupuram district, Tamil Nadu.
preventing such mishaps in future.
The following paragraphs offer two        •   reduce disaster risk in schools      The Right to Safer Schools Campaign
examples of school safety initiatives         through structural and non-          aimed to mitigate the impact of
taken in India.                               structural corrections,              hazards on school children, teachers,
                                          •   prepare       School     Disaster    administrators and infrastructure and
Initiatives by GSDMA and SEEDS                Management Plans,                    to foster a culture of disaster
The Gujarat State Disaster                •   establish school safety clubs and    prevention and mitigation through
Management Authority (GSDMA)                  task forces in schools and provide   schools. The project encompassed the
and SEEDS, an NGO, took up the                training to them,                    following activities:
Gujarat School Safety Initiative. The     •   prepare tools like manuals,
project addresses two issues:                 games and activity kits for          1.   Fire    Safety      Equipment
1. Understanding and preparedness             training school teachers and              Demonstration and Installation:
     amongst school children,                 students in disaster management,          As it was essential that the
     teachers and parents to reduce       •   train teachers for creating a             supported groups know how to
     disaster risk in schools and to be       culture of safety in schools, and         use     fire     extinguishers:
     prepared to act appropriately in         institutionalise the programme            demonstrations on using them
     an emergency;                            through training of trainers.             were organised. A technical
2. Disaster              management                                                     expert led the demonstrations.
     appreciation amongst teachers so     The project has directly benefited            Afterwards, school staff and
     that they are able to impart         about 105,000 students across 175             students were encouraged to
     disaster education to children       schools. The teacher-training                 demonstrate the same. The size
     more      effectively.     Direct    component of the project has raised           of a school and the number of
     implementation of school based       100 teacher trainers and has directly         classrooms and students
     preparedness activities is being     trained over 9,000 teachers3.                 determined the number of fire
     carried out in 175 schools and                                                     extinguishers to be installed.
     teachers' training is being          An Example from AIDMI: The Right
     conducted across 25 districts.       to Safer Schools Campaign                2.   First Aid Kits:
                                          AIDMI has conducted many people-              Along with the installation of fire
The project aimed to:                     centred DRR projects and trainings.           safety equipments, first aid kits
• promote a culture of disaster           This provides an example of how               were also handed over to the
    safety in schools,                    AIDMI promotes DRR by putting                 supported schools.
3   For more, visit    local capacity in the centre.

May 2007                                                                                 7
3.   Insurance Policies:                      drinking water facilities, a                 education centres are operated by
     School children, teachers and            compound wall for schools                    local community members.
     administrative staff of the              located near the highway, repair
     supported schools have been              of electrical work for safety,          9.   Research Activities:
     insured against accidents of any         construction work for kitchens               AIDMI's focuses on research in
     kind. The insurance is not               and toilets and monsoon                      order to guide future work on
     limited to school hours.                 preparedness.                                school safety among various
                                                                                           groups. Learning from research
4.   Awareness Materials:                7.   Economic Support to Needy                    is shared with concerned
     The supported schools have been          Students:                                    stakeholders through publica-
     provided with displays, pocket           The     Campaign        provides             tions. Examples include, the
     books and relevant publications          economic support to the students             review of AIDMI's school safety
     of AIDMI. Most of the materials          and parents who are from poor                training, and a survey of teachers
     distributed were produced in             families, struggling in recovery             perception on school safety.
     local languages.                         from disaster. Support to
                                              continue their study without            So far, this campaign has reached
5.   Training on School Safety:               dropping out is important. In           more than 300 schools including poor
     Training programmes on                   response of tragic incident in          and underprivileged schools from
     Disaster Preparedness for School         schools, AIDMI identifies poor          disaster affected areas through the
     Safety were conducted. Several           families and supports them as           above activities. These disaster-
     teachers and administrative              per their need. Livelihood              affected areas are located in the states
     staffs from the supported schools        support to poor families of             of Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Jammu
     took part. Training programmes           Kumbhakonam fire tragedy and            and Kashmir. This project was
     for school students were also            financial support for further           supported by American Jewish Joint
     conducted with practical                 education to poor tsunami-              Distribution Committee (AJJDC),
     mockdrills and scientific                affected students are examples of       American Jewish World Service
     knowledge         on    disaster         these activities.                       (AJWS), Reuters, and Unitarian
     occurrence.                                                                      Universalist Service Committee
                                         8.   Education Centre:                       (UUSC).
6.   Demand Based Support:                    Open education centres in
     Based on damage assessment and           disaster affected slum areas are        Several key NGOs such as PLAN
     surveys with disaster affected           supported for education in              International and Save the Children,
     schools, AIDMI's support to              different disaster-affected areas       UN agencies such as UNICEF, and
     needy schools has been provided          such as Kheda, Ahmedabad, Bhuj          governments such as Government of
     with respect for needs. Examples         of Gujarat and tsunami-affected         Gujarat and Tamil Nadu are leading
     of requested support include safe        villages of Tamil Nadu. These           this growth.

 School Safety Issues from the News…
 S   everal news articles in Indian
     newspapers suggest that the
 safety of students – both in schools
                                         not in sight, the lane of the school
                                         building was so narrow that fire-
                                         tenders had problems getting to the
                                                                                      stating that no more than six children
                                                                                      are allowed in auto rickshaws and
                                                                                      14 in vans.
 and school-related activities – still   spot. About 900 children were
 needs improvement.                      crammed into the three-storied               January 28, 2007, Times of India.
                                         building with only a single narrow           A wing of a school collapsed in
 July 18, 2004, The Statesman.           staircase serving as both entrance and       Tichakpura village of Vyara Taluka
 A fire at a private school at           exit." Another major criticism went          of Surat District, killing 11
 Kumbhakonam in Tamil Nadu               to the teachers, who according to the        schoolgirls and injuring 14 others.
 killed 90 students. The school was      witnesses did little to help the students.   Parents claimed that the reason for
 not built according to fire safety                                                   the accident was delay in repairing
 rules, making escape for the students   September 17, 2005, Indian Express.          the building.
 impossible when the fire broke out.     When a driver lost control over a van,
 The Statesman writes, July 20, 2004:    10 school children miraculously              February 21, 2007, Times of India.
 "The school-building had a thatched     escaped. These accidents are not rare,       A boat accident in the Periyar River
 roof – a tinder box waiting to go up    and the State Transport Department           in Ernakulam District killed 19
 in flames. Fire extinguishers were      has therefore issued a notification          school children and three teachers.

8                                                                                   May 2007
Let our Children Teach Us!
    Let our children teach us!" was
      published as a contribution
from the UN ISDR System Thematic
Cluster/ Platform on Knowledge and
Education, by Books for Change. It is
a review of the role of education and
knowledge in disaster risk reduction.
The purpose of this review is to
examine and communicate good
practices to reduce disaster risk
through education, knowledge and
innovation all over the world.

The premise of the review is that
disaster risk reduction is an essential
part of sustainable development.
Making sure that schools are safe
places for children to learn represents
a vital commitment to future genera-
                                          A student presenting a risk assessment for his school during school safety training
tions. Over the past 20 years, training
                                          by AIDMI in Kutch. Active participation of students in designing school safety
courses by various NGO's have made
                                          measures ensures their better response during emergencies.
an important impact on local efforts
at risk reduction, and the schools are    through education. The first example       published covering natural hazards
brought to the forefront as a focus for   is from Nepal. This country can be         and their mitigation. It is a thorough
local disaster risk reduction. On a       used as an example of the range of         introduction to natural hazards all
higher level, the UN has understood       challenges faced and strategies            over the world with a specific focus
the importance of this topic, and we      adopted to improve school seismic          on China, which also includes
are now already a couple of years into    safety. Schools in Nepal, both their       preparedness and disaster risk
the UN Decade of Education for            buildings and occupants, face extreme      reduction.
Sustainable Development (2005–            risk from earthquakes. A study of 900
2014). The focus of this review lies on   schools showed that more than 60%          According to this review, clearly
the dangers of earthquake, but other      of the schools are made of weak            synthesised by Ben Wisner, a global
hazards, like flooding, cyclones,         construction materials. In addition,       champion of safer schools, there are
tsunamis and landslides are equally       none of the schools in the survey were     three important strategies to improve
dangerous for schools.                    earthquake resistant. As a response        school safety. Firstly, we need the
                                          to this, a Nepalese NGO, the National      promotion of more and better
Below are two examples of different       Society for Earthquake Technology          teaching about hazards and risk
approaches to reduce disaster risks       Nepal (NSET) has conducted an              reduction. Secondly, we need to
                                          innovative programme to strengthen         develop schools into important centres
                                          existing school buildings and              of risk reduction in their communities.
                                          promote earthquake resilient school        Finally we need to be able to protect
                                          building construction. The NSET            schools against multiple hazards. The
                                          programme built on the fact that most      review indicates progress towards
                                          school construction in Nepal takes         synthesising knowledge and practice
                                          place locally in a decentralised,          in disaster risk reduction, and is a
                                          traditional and informal manner. By        valuable resource for school
                                          focusing on schools, the programme         administrators and others. However,
The name of the booklet is "Let our       reaches the whole community, as            one problem still remains. A large
children teach us", and is a Review of    lessons trickle down to parents,           part of the burden is placed upon the
the Role of Education and Knowledge       relatives and friends.                     shoulders of already busy educators,
in Disaster Risk Reduction. It was                                                   and the examples in the UN ISDR
published as a contribution from the      Another example comes from China.          review will only be valuable if these
UN ISDR System Thematic Cluster/          In 2004, a textbook for senior middle      educators and other actors provide
Platform on Knowledge and Education.      school on natural hazards was              yet another service to children.

May 2007                                                                                   9
School Safety Programmes in Tamil Nadu

T   amil Nadu is carrying out school
    safety    programmes         with
increasing enthusiasm this summer.
There, they are working in socially
poor, tsunami-affected locations, with
students who come from weak
economic backgrounds.

The project in Tamil Nadu is based
on a pilot project in the state of
Gujarat, and a wide range of activities
are carried out by AIDMI. Firstly,
they install direct mitigation
measures (fire extinguishers) with the
purpose of mitigating risks. Then, a
technical expert offers a demonstration
                                            Fire extinguisher handover to PUP School in Koonimedukuppam.
of how to use these fire extinguishers
for school staff and students.
Secondly, first aid kits are handed out     teachers/administrative staff of the       belong to economically and socially
to different schools, as most of the        targeted schools. The purpose of this      weak families, this particular
schools are located at a distance from      training is to teach them how to make      initiative would prove very useful to
basic medical facility and people in        their own schools safer.                   them. Even their family members are
these remote areas are used to                                                         benefited with financial assistance
applying traditional or myth-driven         The targeted schools are directly          through the insurance scheme for
practices for treatment. Thirdly,           affected by the tsunami waves of           accidental loss of their family
AIDMI provides school children and          2005. Before they recover from the         breadwinner. The family of a student
staff with Disaster Insurance. The          impacts of this catastrophe, the coastal   from one of the targeted schools, who
coverage is not only limited to             Tamil Nadu state where these schools       lost his life in an accident has already
students, it also covers school staff and   are located, experienced floods            been compensated by the insurance
it also is not limited to school times,     during the 2006 monsoon. Many              company under the scheme.
but applies 24/7.                           supported schools are on the East
                                            Coast Road—a key highway belt for          The education department, school
All together, 30 schools in Tamil           transportation in the coastal Tamil        authorities, staff members and
Nadu have been covered under this           Nadu—that counts many fatal                children have appreciated this
scheme, including 11 ,358 students and      accidents. So, children and staff          initiative of AIDMI towards making
378 members of the staff (teaching/         members of these supported schools         school safety a reality. It has been
non-teaching). The maximum                  are vulnerable against many natural        experienced during conduct of each
payment any victim can receive, is          and manmade disasters.                     activity of the programme. Many of
INR 25,000. Fourthly, AIDMI hands                                                      the school administrators as well as
out Awareness Material, a set of 33         Activities carried out under the School    education department officers have
displays on the subject of "School          Safety programme have benefited            assured to spread awareness to other
Safety". These laminated posters cover      school administration, staff and           schools and contribute in making
topics from Emergency Preparedness          children in many ways. The programme       more schools safer.
Plan for Schools, Useful and                has shown them how little things can
Hazardous Things, Activities for            reduce their vulnerability and             Experience with these projects, both
Students' preparedness, First Aid for       provide them strength to cope with         in Gujarat and in Tamil Nadu, have
Various Injuries etc. These posters         disasters. It has provided them with       been positive. However, it is
help generate awareness among               an opportunity to contribute to            important to keep in mind that in
school administration, teachers,            safeguarding their own and others          order to achieve the best possible
parents and students when it comes          lives. The accident insurance covers       results with such a school safety
to school safety. Finally, AIDMI            their medical expenses incurred due        programme, a long term plan for
conduct school safety training for          to accidents. As most of the students      School Safety is necessary.

10                                                                                   May 2007
Round Table on School Safety: Reflection of a
Five Year Campaign

E    ach year, disasters in India
     challenge both community and
state efforts to improve standards of
living. Damage is especially seen in
schools, where children are
concentrated in buildings that are
often unsafe. However, with proper
safety mechanisms, the impact of
disasters on schools—and those inside
them—can be effectively minimised.
Yet, recent surveys find that safety
against      hazards    like    fires,
earthquakes, and cyclones is often not
a high priority for schoolteachers,
administrators and civil society alike.
Efforts to improve safety are usually
project-specific and one off.

From this reason, AIDMI hosted the        Tony Vaux, R.N.Vakil, Milind Bonkil, A.M. Prabhakar, Mihir R. Bhatt and Nalini
January 10, 2007 Round Table on           Poptani light a lamp to inaugurate the voices from the round table in Ahmedabad,
School Safety and Disaster Risk           India.
Reduction in order to:
a) Review and consolidate the             The panelists and commentators of             knowledge        and    disaster
    lessons and experiences gained        the     Round      Table    strongly          activities;    build-up       and
    in the last four years of the         emphasised the importance of school           communication of small lessons
    Campaign and to                       safety and its role in sustained              is key for spreading awareness.
b) Plan a way to move the                 development efforts. There was            •   Televisions are potentially
    Campaign efforts forward to           significant agreement that something          powerful tools for communi-
    new areas and sectors.                is to be done on both local and               cating widely with public but
                                          national levels across India.                 they might be unavailable to the
Fifteen experts and 20 key schools and                                                  poor.
officials attended the Roundtable         Some of their constructive                •   Instead of simply rebuilding
from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Kashmir,       suggestions and perspectives on               schools, there is a need to work
Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu. Three           school safety are as follows:                 with children; proper desks
panel of discussion were organised        • Establish and use government                alleviated children's back pain
in the meeting. Experts and                   bodies such as GSDMA and NDMA             and improved attendance;
practitioners in the first panel shared       to meet school safety needs.              similarly, need for proper toilets,
their experiences related to disaster     • Focus on both civil society and             and fans.
risk reduction and long-term                  local governing bodies like           •   Mock drills should be conducted
recovery with an emphasis on                  panchayats, "safety committees",          regularly.
Gujarat. The second panel of experts          etc.; need way for civil society to   •   Preparedness such as drills
spoke on different perspectives of            be statutorily recognised;                should be instilled and schools
School Safety from Risk Reduction,            panchayats should promote                 are excellent place to do so.
Civil Society, and the Municipal              school safety: teacher salaries       •   Schools need contingency funds
School Board. The third discussed             may flow through them,                    for disasters.
specific initiatives that have                establish "safety committees".        •   Instead of focus on improving
contributed to safer schools in three     • Schools should be used as hubs              schools, need focus on keeping
states of India, which are Jammu,             (highest education level per sq.          from slipping further into
Kashmir and Gujarat.                          meter of any city) for all                poverty.

May 2007                                                                                11
A Community-based Approach for School
Safety and Education for Disaster Reduction
K     nowledge management and
      education can help communities
located in hazard-prone areas gain a
better grasp of the ways to cope with
risks. Education has been recognised
as an essential element in sustainable
development and is entirely linked
with disaster risk reduction strategies,
since it accelerates the progress of
societies toward disaster resilience.

Furthermore, safe schools and
educational buildings, well known as
potential ‘havens’ against industrial
and natural hazards, have proven
effective in saving lives; their
importance therefore needs to be
emphasised in disaster risk

Even countries with limited financial
resources can serve their populations
                                           Humanitarian Organisations should give priority for publishing awareness
well by providing them with schools
                                           materials in local languages.
that are resistant to natural and
technological disasters. The disasters     hurricanes, explosions, toxic               linkages      with       sustainable
can    damage        school-building       releases), flood proofing (for floods       development; (ii) learning of risk
structures or have lethal consequences     and tsunamis) and preparedness              reduction measures; and (iii)
for students and teachers.                 plans, amongst others.                      learning about disaster preparedness
                                                                                       and response.
Awareness and Preparedness for             What does it take to have a safe
Emergencies at the local level is a        school?                                     Informal education or non-formal
community-based, participatory             Each community that endeavours to           education is the development of
process designed to create public          be prepared for disasters will have to      awareness raising campaigns to reach
awareness of hazards and to ensure         adopt and implement specific policies       out to the public at large (civil society,
that communities are adequately            that are inherent to its cultural, social   workers, decision-makers, etc.) with
prepared to respond. As will be seen       and economic concepts and practices.        messages related to disaster
in the following paragraphs, it            These policies often require changes        reduction, better understating of how
applies equally well to schools.           in established practices. The               human activity can link to disaster
                                           protection of school buildings against      and what can be done at the
What is a safe school?                     disasters does not require enormous         individual level to contribute to
A safe school is either a school that is   changes, nor mobilisation of                disaster reduction. Technical
located in a hazard free area, or one      extraordinary resources. In the first       education for local builders
that has been constructed so as to         instance, it requires political will.       (including masons) and construction
withstand the hazards to which it is                                                   firms is extremely important to
exposed. A safe school will not            What is education for disaster              sustain risk reduction initiatives in
collapse if a disaster occurs.             reduction?                                  the community.
                                                                                       Source: UNDP Publication (2004).
A safe school can be achieved through      Formal education is the formal              Reducing Disaster Risk: A Challenge for
several complementary measures             inclusion in the basic school               Development
that begin with land use planning, and     curriculum of issues and subjects           ISDR Publication (2002). Living with Risk
pass through structural reinforcement      related to: (i) identification and          UNEP Publication (1988). APELL
(for earthquakes, landslides,              understanding of risks and its              Handbook

12                                                                                    May 2007
Preparedness Month: A Practical Guideline
from the Government of India
S   ince 2004, the Government of India
    has planned to launch a
programme to promote school
                                             Officer, School Principals and
                                             Teachers       (Municipal/Private),
                                             representative from the students,
                                                                                       Furthermore, the government
                                                                                       suggests some activities aiming at
                                                                                       increasing awareness through
safety. By emphasising school safety         emergency response agencies/              education practice. One of the
on the educational agenda as soon as         officials, key institutions, Indian Red   campaigns is "Preparedness Month"
possible, the government called for          Cross, Civil Defence, ward                throughout the whole country. All
nation-wide         attention     and        representatives, committed youth          schools around the nation are
contributions to the safety of our           groups,        clubs,      volunteers,    supposed to facilitate this unique and
children.                                    representatives from corporate sector,    significant campaign annually;
                                             NGOs and other stakeholders4.             meanwhile all related stakeholders
In order to involve all related                                                        are encouraged to contribute to this
resources into this issue and conduct        Besides, a guiding plan as a country      issue as well. The government has
it professionally, a district-level School   level strategy has been presented,        proposed a model layout of a
Safety Advisory Committee was                which adopts school safety plans at       timetable and agenda as a practical
suggested, which shall include               two levels: 1) A District-wide School     guideline for all.
but is not limited to a key                  Safety Plan; 2) A School Building-Level   (see model sheet on the next page)
Administrator, Coordinator BRC/              Emergency Preparedness and                4 Government of India, Ministry of Home
CRC, Representative of PTA/MTA,              Response Plan. Specific examples and        Affairs, National Disaster Management
Municipal Commissioner, Vice                 models are given for related                Division (NDMD): School safety: A
                                                                                         Handbook for Administrators,
Chairman Development Authority,              departments and schools to                  Education Officers, Emergency
Chief Fire Officer, Chief Medical            implement as well.                          Officials, School Principals and
                                                                                         Teachers, 2004.

 Boat Tragedy: When Schools Plan Picnics
 A     t 6:40pm on February 20, 2007,
       15 children and 3 teachers died
 when they were crossing a river with
                                                                                       they know how to get on and get off
                                                                                       buses on the way to school? Do they
                                                                                       know how to cross the road? Do they
 a tattered boat on their way back                                                     know how to deal with strangers
 from a picnic. Altogether 216                                                         who accost them pretending friends
 students and 12 teachers went                                                         of their parents? Do they know what
 together but few of them knew how                                                     they should do if someone falls into
 to swim. A hole in the boat was                                                       a lake asking for help? In a word,
 discovered when they were boarding                                                    school safety is far beyond the inside
 but none paid much attention to it.                                                   of the school but also around the
 That the boat was overloaded was                                                      school and outside the school.
 clear, but everyone was in a rush to        No more boating at Thattekkad Bird
 get back with the unlicensed private        Sanctuary.                                Thus, the essential mission will be
 boat before it was too late in the                                                    raising awareness towards possible
 evening.                                    are studying in school. Whereas, the      dangers in everyday life, which can
                                             calamity reminds us of something          be achieved through education. We
 The school authority and local              important: providing disaster             can imagine that if swimming were
 government responded immediately            resilient school buildings, desks and     learnt as a normal skill, the loss on
 after the accident but lives lost could     evacuation routes in schools. It is       that boat would be less, and that if
 never be recovered.                         required to ask questions such as: Is     the boat ride was refused after the
                                             there anything sharp to cause injuries    discovery of the hole… None of the
 Too many tragedies have proven the          in classrooms? Are there any              detailed miscellaneous items of
 importance of promoting school              poisonous chemical in laboratories?       everyday life can be ignored
 safety and taking every measure to          Do children play proper games             addressing the issue of safety
 ensure children's security when they        leading fewer serious injuries? Do        through school.

May 2007                                                                                   13
14   May 2007

 Schools represent the capacity or vulnerability of our society.   What's our learning from past disasters and how do we
                                                                   reflect for making schools safer?

 Hazards vary in nature and magnitude but the reality              Regular drills and active follow-up are very important for
 remains the same that safe education is the right of school       mitigating the impact of hazards in schools.

 The Right to Safer Schools Campaign resource kit has been         Contributors to the Round Table on 'Disaster Risk
 developed based on the five year journey of school safety         Reduction and Safer School Campaign' on January 10,
 activities, and recovery experience of earthquakes, cyclones,     2007 at AMA.
 tsunamis, riots, droughts, floods and fire incidents.

May 2007                                                                                    15
Disaster Education: Japanese Experience
J  apan lies on the Pacific Ring of
  Fire, a highly active tectonic zone
where the Pacific Plate subducts
                                                                                      during disasters. Senior students
                                                                                      (grade 10–12) learn basics of earth
                                                                                      science, hazards in different
beneath continental plates, and has                                                   geological formations, how to save
numerous active volcanoes and                                                         themselves and help small children
frequently experiences earthquakes.                                                   and senior citizens during disasters,
Japan is at a risk to flooding if sea                                                 and so on.
level is to rise due to ice-melting
resulting from global warming.                                                        Children are the future of a country.
However, Japan is at the forefront of                                                 Inclusion of disaster education in
planning for climate change, with the                                                 school curricula helps create
major emphasis being on the                                                           disaster-aware population inculcated
implications for flooding of coastal     Teaching school children about
                                                                                      with a culture of safety. Developing
                                         disasters will help secure the future
areas, as sea-level rise will increase   against disasters, as disaster reduction     countries can draw many lessons
the risk of flooding due to surges       measures will be better integrated with      from Japan in this regard.
and other flood mechanisms 5 .           development sectors.
Earthquakes in Japan tend to result
                                                                                      5 Nicholls, R. J., 2006. Storm Surges in
in lower mortality rates than in         everyday life (such as road and                Coastal Areas published in Natural
many developing countries due to         household accidents), first aid and            Disaster Hotspots: Case Studies. The
better enforcement of building codes,    basics of disaster science. Activities         World Bank, Hazard Management
better emergency response, and                                                          Unit, Washington, D. C., Disaster Risk
                                         include mock trials for disaster
                                                                                        Management Series No. 6, pp. 79–108.
the generally high level of              situations in and around schools. In
                                                                                      6 Dilley, M., Chen, R. S., Deichmann,
preparedness6.                           junior schools (grade 7–9), students
                                                                                        U., Lerner-Lam, A. L., Arnold, M. with
                                         learn physical processes behind                Agwe, J., Buys, P., Kjekstad, O.,
Moreover, Japanese school curricula      hazards, first aid for specific                Lyon, B., and Yetman, G., 2005.
include disaster education right from    situations like haemorrhage and                Natural Disaster Hotspots: A Global
the beginning through all levels.        fractures, measures to avoid accidents         Risk Analysis. The World Bank,
                                                                                        Hazard       Management         Unit,
Students in primary schools (grade       during household activities like               Washington, D. C., Disaster Risk
1–6) are taught about accidents in       cooking and protective behaviours              Management Series No. 5.

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