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2006 – 2007 World Disaster Reduction Campaign: disaster risk reduction begins at school

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This report presents an overview of the campaign “Disaster risk reduction begins at school” and the lessons learned from good practice in different countries affected by various natural and man-made disasters. Children are the most vulnerable age group during any disaster, especially those attending school, as school buildings are often destroyed. In keeping with the Hyogo Protocol and achieving the MDGs, the UN/ISDR secretariat and its partners made disaster risk education and safer school facilities the two critical themes of the 2006-2007 World Disaster Reduction Campaign. The background to the campaign is provided, explaining the rationale, expectations and the key messages of the campaign. The campaign is based on the assumption that disaster risk education in schools will empower children to play a role before and after a natural hazard, thereby reducing the adverse effects of such disasters. It aims to raise awareness and mobilise various stakeholders to ensure that disaster risk reduction is fully integrated into school curricula in high risk countries and that school buildings are built to withstand natural hazards.Factsheets are presented to illustrate the number of natural disasters affecting the high risk countries in the world, the economical costs of such disasters, the countries where disaster risk has been made a part of the national school curricula, and examples of impacts of disasters on achieving MDGs. The active participation of various stakeholders; the government, international community, civil society and also family are crucial to the success of the campaign. The report elaborates on each of their expected roles in ensuring the safety of schools and raising risk awareness amongst children and communities. Lastly, the following case studies establish the effectiveness of the campaign’s main objectives; that children who are taught to about natural hazards play an important role in protecting and the saving lives of members of their communities during the time a disaster:

Cuba: an educational project about disasters
Kazakhstan: local risk management in earthquake zones
Madagascar: disaster resistant schools
Afghanistan: school safety as part of post conflict reconstruction
India: rehabilitation to safety, Gujarat School Safety Initiative.