Humanitarian Response, Disaster Risk Reduction and Child Safety
Thailand is occasionally affected by natural and man-made disasters. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was one of the largest disasters that affected the country with over 5000 deaths recorded. More recently, the 2011 floods in Thailand also affected millions, with 65 out of 77 provinces in the country inundated.
In 2013, Save the Children responded to several disasters in Thailand, including the Ban Mae Surin refugee camp fire and Mae Sot floods. Children are the most vulnerable in disasters, especially migrant and refugee children. As such, we help ensure that disaster-affected children have access to nutritious food, clean water, safe spaces to play and learn and health services. Our programs also reach out to the most vulnerable families, including people with disabilities, refugees, migrants, and those living with HIV. Due to our coordinated and effective emergency relief assistance, the government has seen Save the Children as a trustworthy disaster response partner.With strong partnerships Thailand’s corporate sector, Save the Children also prepositions stocks of essential relief items ready to be mobilized at any time.
As a consequence of our humanitarian responses, approximately 800 households benefited from our hygiene kits in Mae Sot, having reached 3,200 people affected from the recent floods. Moreover, 427 households in Ban Mae Surin Refugee Camp in Mae Hong Son province received our hygiene, and infant kits having reached 830 adults, and 1,189 children in the aftermath of the fire at the camp.
Disaster risk reduction
As part of our work to help disaster-affected children and families prepare better for future disasters, Save the Children places priority on disaster preparedness and risk reduction efforts. We are implementing a disaster risk reduction program in four disaster-prone provinces of Thailand based on our experiences in the 2004 Tsunami.
Realizing the appeal of animation to young children, Save the Children produced a child-friendly disaster risk reduction booklet, ‘Alert Little Tun’ to teach children to be aware of and prepare for disaster risks in flood-prone areas. To date, ‘Alert Little Tun’ booklets have been distributed to 81 schools, having reached over 21,500 students in central and northern Thailand. In addition, a puppet show was produced based on the animation and has been showcased during the ASEAN Day for Disaster Management. The puppet performance has been shown to 1,500-2,000 people in communities throughout Patumthani, Tak, and Mae Hong Son provinces. As a follow-up activity, 8,000 game cards based on the animation have been published and will be distributed to targeted schools.
Save the Children advocates for better child protection practices by encouraging direct input from children and teachers into the development and implementation of the national school curriculum on DRR and child safety. The media is a powerful tool that reaches a wide audience especially children. Therefore, in advocating disaster risk reduction, we utilize social media, mass media, and joint collaboration with celebrities, to pass on ‘safety and preparedness’ messages that will help create resilient communities.