Disaster risk reduction
Reducing risk and building resilience in a hazard-prone country
Myanmar’s geography places it among the world’s most hazard-prone countries, and climate change is exacerbating the country’s vulnerability to periodic floods, fires, storms, cyclones and droughts. It is now understood that disasters are not primarily the result of natural phenomena alone – rather, they reflect the ability and capacity of societies to manage the hazards they face.
Children represent over one-third of the population of Myanmar and are disproportionately affected by disasters. As they are often the first to display lower health and other negative impacts of shocks and stresses, children’s challenges can warn of emerging risks to the well-being of the wider population.
Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) is about managing the risk from natural hazards – and ensuring strong national plans and systems to cope with future shocks as a result of natural hazards, climate change, conflicts and epidemics.
Being well-prepared helps countries to build resilience and ensure sustainable development and placing children at the centre of national planning around disaster risk helps safeguard the most vulnerable members of the population.
Our 2017 Child Centered Risk Assessment provides a detailed analysis of township-level risk and serves as an important decision-making tool for government, development, and humanitarian partners interested in risk-informed planning and programming.
To help the Government and communities mitigate the risks they face, UNICEF has supported a range of practical interventions that reduce risks and vulnerability of children and the population.
Prioritizing children in disaster risk reduction is a matter of child rights and sound policy.
Newly constructed storm-resistant child-friendly schools now serve as models for safe schools. Disaster-risk information taught in primary schools ensures children are equipped with life-saving knowledge. A nutrition surveillance system in high-risk areas is helping to provide timely alerts on malnutrition rates amongst young children – which can also alert partners to potential malnutrition risks in the wider population.
UNICEF also supports training for government officials in effective management of emergency supplies in warehouses and training on including the most vulnerable—children, elderly and disabled—in disaster risk reduction and response activities.
In addition, UNICEF is analyzing bottlenecks and barriers to ensure more resilient and adaptive national systems to deliver critical social services. Global experience shows that incorporating disaster risks into social protection systems not only helps children and families better manage risks, but also helps break cycles of poverty and builds resilience.