The Save the Children Fund wants young people involved in emergency planning at the local government level to ensure their needs are met.
In a submission to the recent bushfires royal commission, Save the Children said youngsters’ needs were “systemically misunderstood and overlooked” in the responses to the fires, even though they are “uniquely vulnerable to the short and long-term effects of fires”.
Responses to future bushfires should include establishing child-friendly spaces as an essential service in every evacuation, relief and recovery centres, the organisation says.
“Children’s participation at all stages of emergency management has significant benefits … and minimum standards for their participation in disaster risk reduction and resilient practice and decision-making should be developed and adopted.”
Save the Children says it is keen to support and work with local government to ensure local emergency plans provide for children’s needs and that they are included in planning and recovery activities.