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Born to: step up for disaster risk reduction

13 October is the 2011 International Day for Disaster Reduction, and the spotlight is on children and young people who every day show their ability to prevent disasters through disaster risk reduction (DRR).

International Day for Disaster Reduction  is celebrated every year to raise awareness about what we can all do to prevent disasters and reduce the impacts of earthquakes like we saw in Nepal in September, the floods in Pakistan and the East Africa food crisis.

Disaster risk reduction saves lives – and the more people that do it, the more lives will be saved when disasters happen.

Save the Children works with children, schools, communities and governments in 35 countries and counting to build their resilience to disasters.

In Philippines for example, children and young people living close to an active volcano have developed emergency preparedness procedures, including school evacuation routes and fire fighting.

In Myanmar, children and young people have worked with Save the Children to identify especially vulnerable parts of their community, and safe havens.

A proactive 2011

It’s been a big year for children working on DDR and Save the Children has been with them all along the way. To start with, in January more than 1,000 children from 49 countries took part in the Views from the Frontline survey.

This is a global survey by the Global Network for Disaster Reduction which finds out what people in villages, schools, communities and local groups think about disasters, how they affect homes, schools and communities, and how they can be prevented.

Children’s Charter

Then in May children went to Geneva to a conference on disaster risk reduction, and told governments and charities like us what their priorities are for keeping themselves and their communities safe, and for preventing disasters.

They did this through the Children’s Charter for Disaster Risk Reduction, a five point plan for reducing the impacts of disasters, created and prioritised by children.

The Children’s Charter has since been supported by more than 25 governments, and hundreds more people from all walks of life!

Save the Children Steps Up

On 13th October, the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction is leading the celebrations for children and young people and the impact they have on preventing disasters around the world.

The day is obviously a big celebration for us at Save the Children. At every corner of the earth, from China to Kenya, Fiji to Denmark, Bangladesh to the US, Australia to Brazil, and here in the UK, we are getting involved.

For International Day for Disaster Reduction we will ‘Step Up’ with a megaphone – to say YES to children’s participation to reduce disaster risks, WELL DONE to all the children, communities and governments who are already doing it, and LET’S GO to making it happen everywhere!

Happy International DRR Day!

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